Campfires can keep us warm, dry our clothing, boil and disinfect water, cook our food and even keep wildlife away from us. Building a campfire is a crucial skill for every outdoorsmen and woman, and it takes more than just stacking some wood and sticking a lit match near it. However, with the proper knowledge, materials, and tools, anyone can build a campfire like an outdoor pro.
For a small fire, you can use your hands and two matches:
For a medium fire, you will need a knife:
STEP 1: GATHER TINDERTinder is an easily combustible material used at the first stage of starting a fire. Its primary purpose is to ignite kindling. It can be made of any flammable substance, as long as it is finely divided and has an open structure.
STEP 2: PREPARE KINDLING
STEP 3: SHAPE THE FUEL
Wood logs are the primary fuel that keeps the fire going after it is started. Chop or saw from a dead tree, never a live one (green).
STEP 4: CLEAR THE AREA
Clear a space at least 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter around the fireplace, free of burnable material such as trees, brush, and low branches.
Consider digging a fire pit. Setting a fire on the surface without knowing what is under the fire pit can lead to a root fire which can show up several feet away from the actual fire site. Gather enough dry tinder, kindling, and fuelwood before you start the fire. Place all within easy reaching distance of your fireplace.
STEP 5: LIGHT THE FIRE
Bend the tinder in half and light the center.
Light the fire from the windward side.
Add kindling carefully to keep the fire growing.
Let your fire burn down to a fine ash.
Afterward, ensure your fire is completely extinguished.