3 mins

How to build a good (and safe) campfire

Building a campfire can be difficult and dangerous – so read this 5-step guide before you start striking matches

People sitting around a campfire (Shutterstock: see credit below)

1. Check that it’s OK to light one

Sitting around a campfire sets a wonderful scene; it’s the place to toast marshmallows and tell stories. But before you start to build a fire, make sure that you’re allowed to do so in your location. If you’re not, it will be for good reason: perhaps due to high fire risk or a fragile ecosystem. You don’t want to destroy a beautiful place or put yourself at risk.

2. Gather some tinder

Once you know you are good to go, start by collecting tinder: dry leaves, dry bark or dry fungi – all things that catch fire quickly and burn fast. This will form the centre of your fire.

3. Collect kindling

Next you need material that will be ignited by the fast-burning tinder; it needs to burn slower, but not as slowly as the large logs that will be your main fuel. Look for thin branches and sticks – again these must be dry. Form the kindling into a small tipi structure around the tinder pile.

4. Find fuel

Lastly, you need bigger logs and branches that will burn slowly (though not too big or they won’t catch fire easily). Build a tipi of these larger logs around the kindling.

5. Light your fire

Place a lit match within your tinder pile so it catches fire. Once alight, it will ignite the kindling, then eventually the bigger logs. As the fire burns the tipis will collapse; simply add more fuel once it’s got going. Then get out the guitar – ‘Kumbaya’, anyone...?

Main image: People sitting around a campfire (Shutterstock)

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