How To Build A Campfire
Everybody wants to build a fire when they are camping. Sitting around the campfire talking is one of the most enjoyable parts of camping. But before we lite our fire we need to be sure we are safe and ready. The most important aspect of starting a fire is the preparation. This can?t be understated. For safety, before you light the match you must be sure that:
1. the fire site is properly prepared
2. you have enough tinder, kindling, and wood for the fire
3. you have cleared away all flammable debris, down to bare earth.
4. you must have a means of containing the fire.
All of these steps are extremely important because a fire can get out of control if you are not prepared. You need to make sure the fire is contained and will not spread. You want to be certain that you have enough wood because you don?t want to leave a fire unattended while you are out looking for more. It is also very important to check above the fire site for low hanging tree branches, and below it for exposed tree roots.
Once you have the fire site prepared, you can turn your focus to the fire. Depending on weather conditions, this may or may not be difficult. You never know when you may need to start a fire, like in an emergency, or a downpour or the middle of winter. I always carry some matches in a waterproof container on any journey into the woods. You never know what will happen so it is best to be prepared.
Since you have gathered everything you need for a fire now you can begin to build the fire. Be sure you have everything ready before hand, the fire may not light on the first match but you want it to work the first time. The first thing to build a fire is tinder, small, dry twigs. Frequently, tinder on the ground it too wet to use. Another method is to break of tinder off of small dead branches. Another excellent source is birch bark. Birch bark will burn even if it is wet. It lights fast and burns hot.
Once the tinder is lit, you can add the kindling. Kindling is larger sticks that will burn for a longer duration than tinder. These pieces are between 1/4 and 1/2 inches in diameter but lots of kindling around the small side works great. Once you have built up the fire and there is sufficient heat and burning embers, you can begin to add larger and larger pieces of wood to the fire. This is the fuel of the fire. If the fire is going and all you have is wet wood, you can dry out the wood by placing it next to the burning fire.
Another good thing to bring with you is fire starters. Fire starters will light and burn no matter what the conditions are. Trioxane bars have been used by the military for this purpose. They don?t weigh much and always work well. It is important to be prepared.
It is important to know how to make a fire and to have practiced it. I can't stress this enough. Every time you are out camping try to light the fire with just one or two matches. When you really do need to get a fire started in an emergency, you will be able to do so. You don?t want to find out that you can?t do it when you really need it.
About the Author: Michael Savio is an avid outdoor adventurer and owner of Compass Monkey, which is dedicated to help other outdoor adventurers get the information they need about places, skills and gear. Featured activities include backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and road cycling. Visit http://www.compassmonkey.com for more tips and advice.