Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by Bruce
Having a live campfire is one of the great pleasures of camping. It provides warmth, a heat source for cooking, a focal point with its dancing flames and a relaxing environment for storytelling or just peaceful enjoyment of the great outdoors.
Remember to only build a campfire on campsites that permit live fires. It is always best to check with the relevant authorities before building one. Also, remember that live fires can be dangerous, if not managed correctly, so make sure you follow the guidelines below to ensure the camp fire remains a memory for all the right reasons.
Building the Fire Pit:
• Select a location for your campfire pit that isn’t too close to trees, building or anything that could catch fire from a spark. Try to find a level location.
• Clear the area of all debris.
• Dig a gently sloping circular hollow about 10 cm deep and surround it with stones or rocks.
• Have a bucket of water, shovel and a fire extinguisher nearby and ready to put out a fire.
Constructing the Camp Fire:
• Gather twigs and other wood of various sizes and stack them away from the main fire area. You will need:
– Tinder, ie small dry twigs, wood shavings, dry leaves, grass or bark. This material will start to burn immediately with a lighted match.
– Kindling, ie slightly larger trigs about 3 cm in diameter.
– Larger wood logs to keep the fire going. (Don’t use green wood).
• Place a couple of handfuls of tinder in the centre of your fire pit.
• Position yourself back to the wind and with a match protected with the cup of your hand ignite the tinder. Discard the used match into the fire.
• Slowly add more tinder.
• Blow softly at the base of the fire if the flame starts to die down.
• Once the tinder has started to burn properly slowly add some smaller pieces of kindling. Don’t place these so close together that air cannot circulate.
• Gradually increase the size of the kindling you add to the fire.
• When you have a good fire going, add the larger wood one piece at a time. As above, allow for adequate airflow.
• Tepee Fire: Lay the fuel over your kindling like a tepee. These types of fire are good for quick cooking since the heat is concentrated in one spot.
• Crisscross Fire: Lay the fuel over the kindling in a criss-cross pattern. These types of fire are long lasting especially if coal is added.
• Never build a fire near tents or other flammable items.
• Never use flammable fluids to start a fire.
• Never leave the fire unattended.
• Build a fire only as big as you need.
• Make sure to completely extinguish the fire when it is no longer required.
• Scatter the ashes within the fire pit and sprinkle the area with water. Drench charred logs until cold.