How to start a fire that will burn well and won’t go out
In this article, we’re going to discuss how to start a fire. Now, a lot of people are familiar with the basics of starting a fire. However, it’s been our experience that even the most seasoned camper can use a refresher from time to time.
The #1 rule: Fire must have something to burn (firewood … fuel), something to start the burning process (flame) and oxygen. If you don’t have all of those, your fire will never start.
The truth is, there’s been many a camper surprised by wet conditions (or leaving the matches at home). So, be prepared!
How to build a fire the right way
When learning how to build a fire, it’s easy to be in a hurry; don’t. Take your time to do it right and follow these steps. Your fire will treat you right if you do.
Step 1: Wood
Gather wood in varying sizes … from the smallest twigs to larger pieces to keep it going once it’s started.
While you’re out gathering the wood, make sure you gather some very small pieces, as well as some other dried material such as pine needles, leave, etc. You’ll use these to get the fire going.
How to build a fire tip: Don’t be stingy with the small stuff (pine needles, leaves & twigs). You’re going to need more than you think and having some left over is better than not having enough to get started.
Step 2: Fire pit
Choosing the right place for a fire pit is tough when you’re first learning how to build a fire. It actually takes a little practice.
Your fire pit should be made in an open and level spot. And, it should be away from any tree branches, piles of debris and any structures. (The last thing you want is your tent or trailer to go up in flames!)
If an existing fire ring is present, build it there. (If it meets the previous requirements.) Once you’ve found a spot, your ready to dig your fire pit.
Generally, your fire pit should be 24” to 36” in diameter. This is a good size for a multi-use fire pit. One this size can be used for cooking, as well as general enjoyment. It also will leave room for enough wood and air to feed the fire.
A fire pit should be 8” to 12” deep. You can use either dig your pit with a shovel or you can place a barrier that meets the height requirement around it. Such a barrier could be made with rocks.
If you dig, make sure you replace the dirt back in the hole when you’re done.
Step 3: Build your fire
In the center of your fire pit, place a generous handful of the leaves and pine needles you collected. You also can use a ball of paper.
Then, place your twigs and stick around it. You can do this in teepee style or in a square shape. Leave plenty of space for air to get in.
When you first learn how to build a fire, resist the urge to go ahead and place your larger pieces of wood on it now. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Step 4: Light your fire
Light your tiny fire and lightly blow on it if you need to. As it starts to burn, place additional twigs and small sticks on it. Let it burn for several minutes before you move on to the next step.
The goal here is to slowly grow a strong fire. (That way, you don’t risk it going out when you put larger wood on it.)
Step 5: Grow your fire
Start placing increasingly larger pieces of wood on the fire. Let each set.of.stick start.burning well before.moving to the next size.
Once you have sticks that are 3″ to 4″ around burning, you can then gently place a few large pieces on it.
Step 6: Maintain and enjoy
Your fire should be roaring well, now. Every so often (as needed), you can put larger pieces on to maintain it.
Starter – You can pack starter materials like newspaper or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in a ziplock bag.
Patience – Don’t rush the process. If you don’t learn how to build a fire deliberately, you may wind up cold and hungry.