An Eagle Scout’s Guide To Fire Building
So you have found yourself in the perfect campsite in the great outdoors. The tent is set up, and your food is secured in a nearby tree out of reach of bears. Now it is time to set up the campfire, but you have no idea where you should build it. Well, let me help you with that my friend!
Where To Light A Fire
Campfires should always be made in premade firepits. Premade firepits are often marked by a ring of rocks or a Fire Ring just like in the photo below. The reasoning for this is to prevent campers from damaging the area with new campfires and helps to conserve the land for other campers enjoyment.
How To Make A Campfire
I find the best way to build a campfire is to place two large pieces of split wood as a bottom layer. This way when you light the fire the flames will have a fuel source and will help prevent the fire from going out on the cold ground. Next, you are going to need to place your tinder. This can be very thin splinters of wood, dried rope, or shredded paper. Once you have your tinder in place, you will want to start placing thin sticks of wood and slowly work your way up to larger pieces. Now it is time to light the fire and help the flames grow until it is crackling away on the logs.
Lighting Your Fire
There are many ways to light a fire each requires different levels of skill to use correctly so make sure to practice using your equipment so you can easily and safely light a fire. You can use matches, lighters, flint & steel, or a battery and steel wool.
Lighters are the easiest and the safest way to use as you only need to hold down two buttons to ignite a flame.
Lighting a match requires you to strike it against its box to ignite, and it needs to be placed in the prepared firepit quickly. Otherwise, it will burn your fingers.
Flint & Steel requires much more practice. You need to shave off some magnesium into a nest of dried rope strands and ignite by striking the steel with the flint.
Before You Burn
Always make sure that there is not a burn ban going on in the area you are choosing to camp. Ban burns are only used when the campgrounds are at high risk of starting a forest fire. You can check on the National Forest Service website or ask your local Forest Ranger if it is safe to burn.
When enjoying your campfire make sure to have someone designated as a Fire Watcher so that you can prevent your fire from spreading into a forest fire. Also when you are getting ready to go to sleep for the night make sure that your campfire is entirely out. You can do this by saturating the fire with water and spreading out the ashes.