Skip to next element

Meghan Ham

How to safely start a campfire (and put it out after)?

How to safely start a campfire (and put it out after)?

When you hear about camping, a series of pleasant images immediately appear on your mind screen. However, the most iconic of these is the warm and welcoming campfire. Building a campfire is more than just warding off the chilly nights. A campfire is a place to gather your family and friends to roast marshmallows, play games, gossip, and add more fun to your camping experience.

A comprehensive guide on how to start a campfire safely.

Whether you are an experienced camper, a hardened survivalist, or love to spend more time outdoors, you must know how to start a well-constructed campfire. Here in this guide, we will help you learn the best ways to start a campfire safely.

Look at the instructions below to understand things better in this regard.

So, here we go:

Understand the local laws of a campfire.

Just like anything else, preparation can make or even break a campfire. Before starting a campfire, it is essential to check for the local fire restrictions of the area where you are.

You can quickly find this information on the website of your county. The information can easily tell you whether conditions are suitable or too dangerous to start a campfire. Even if it is ok to start a campfire, you should still check the local rules and guidelines for starting a campfire at your chosen camping site.

Choose an adequate location.

Once you have learned the local laws for a campfire, it's time to find the best place to start a campfire. The step is as crucial as starting a campfire for multiple reasons.

  • If you are somewhere with a pre-made campfire pit, use that.
  • Otherwise, you have to build your fire pit. Always ensure that your chosen location is about 15 feet away from anything that can catch fire, such as tents, trees, and bushes.
  • Firstly, you need bare and dry dirt to start a campfire. However, if you don’t have that, clean the place within about a 10-foot radius.
  • It would be best to consider rain, wind direction and speed, and low-hanging branches while choosing an ideal location for starting a campfire.

After choosing the best spot, it is time to start working to prepare your fire pit. Use your shovel to make a hole in the ground you have cleared. Make a ring around this hole to create a firewall. Now that you have found the right location to start your campfire, it’s time to collect materials to build it.

Gather campfire materials

There is more to starting a campfire than just placing logs in the heap or tossing on your match. You must gather essential campfire materials to start and keep the fire running safely. Here we have enlisted everything you need to start a campfire:

  • Tinder is the easiest and smallest burning material that you can use to start a campfire safely. It is usually available in different forms, such as cardboard strips, wadded paper, wood shavings, wax, dryer lint, commercial fire starters, or fire sticks.
  • Kindling is slightly bigger than tinder. Small branches and twigs are commonly included in this category of campfire materials.
  • On the other hand, firewood is considered a crown that varies anywhere up to 5 inches in diameter. It is always essential to choose dry firewood to start a campfire and make it stay easy.
  • A lighter or a matchbox is another essential to start a campfire. Even though it is fine to use common stick matches, using lighter to start a campfire and BBQ grills are gaining more popularity.

Learn how to start different types of fire

Now it's time to build a campfire before starting it. If you want to start a campfire in the pre-built fire ring, clean the previous fires ash and charcoal before putting in new materials. However, if you are creating your fire-pit yourself, clear all the vegetation, dead grass, and other debris within 10 feet radius.

Then lay tinder about 1 foot in diameter. Tinder is a quick and light-burning material. Then build the campfire in any of the four different ways given below:

  • Teepee fire

Arrange your kindling in a teepee manner over fuel to create a teepee fire. Then build a larger firewood teepee over kindling to lit.

  • Crossfire.

Crossfire is also suitable for creating long-lasting campfires. Start to lay kindling over the tinder bed. Place kindling in a crisscross manner following logs and firewood.

  • Log cabin fire

Log cabin fire is another way to build a long-lasting campfire. Start to create a kindling teepee over tinder, then place two on any side of the cone. Create a square by adding two more logs on the top here. Then build up the stack and add smaller and shorter firewood pieces until the cabin has been created. Now top this fire buildup with the lightest kindling. 

  • Lean-to fire

Consider building a lean-to-fire if you want to cook on your campfire. Start building a lean-to-campfire by sticking kindling’s long piece into the ground. Keep these just above your fuel at a 30-degree angle. Now start tilting small kindling against the sides of larger ones to create a tent, followed by firewood. 

Now light the fire and enjoy the results of your hard work.

Best practices to put out your campfire after.

Here are the key tips to safely put out your campfire:

  • Put water down your campfire first.
  • Mix the embers and ashes with soil and scrape the partially burnt logs and sticks.
  • Stir the ember once these have been covered with water to ensure everything here is completely wet. 
  • Feel the embers, coals, and partially burnt sticks with your hand. Everything must be cool to the touch.
  • After completing all these steps, please take a few more minutes to put more water onto it.
  • Always check the campsite for any possible embers or sparks. It is because only one is enough to start a forest fire.

If things out there are hot to touch, then remember these aren't suitable to leave. So, it would help if you took enough time to put your campfire off completely. It is necessary to prevent any hazardous wildfire.


Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

Share on:
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.

Load Scripts