Building a Campfire

For camping trips and backyard cookouts, make a fast, hot campfire with a minimum amount of smoke. We had our campfire burning hot ~20 minutes after we collected kindling and cut firewood in our woods from trees found on the ground. Dry kindling and firewood burn faster and with less smoke than freshly-cut wood and is recommended for campfires and bonfires.

Step 1: Collect Kindling and Firewood

Building a Campfire

To get started, you need the following:

· Small hand saw

· Shovel to remove grass to make dirt fire ring

· Dryer lint, paper, or firestarter (burns quickly & helps kindling catch fire)

· Matches or flame stick

· Kindling (small, dry twigs, found on the ground, broken to ~12 inches)

· Larger, pencil-sized kindling and small, dry tree branches (broken or cut to ~18 inches)

· Small, dry logs

For fire safety, remove enough grass so that the size of the campfire you are building fits inside the circular fire ring. This helps to ensure that the fire burns directly on the soil instead of the grass, where it could possibly spread out of control.

Step 2: Campfire Base Set-Up

Building a Campfire

Place 2 logs parallel to each other in the center of the fire ring, 6-8 inches apart. Fill the space between these logs with the smallest kindling. Add a few large pieces of dryer lint, crumpled paper, or a home-made firestarter in with this kindling.

Step 3: Add Larger Kindling

Building a Campfire

Add larger twigs and kindling in the opposite direction over the 2 logs and smallest kindling that is the base layer on the ground.

Step 4: Add Largest Kindling and Start the Fire

Building a Campfire

Carefully place the small, dry tree branches by standing them next to each other, circling the kindling and 2 logs that already are in place.

Strike a match or use a flamestick to start the base layer or twigs and dryer lint, paper, or firestarter.

Step 5: Add Larger Logs

Building a Campfire

Once the wood has caught fire and there are flames visible through the stacked branches and kindling, circle the fire with the largest logs, following the pattern used for the previous layer of firewood, being careful not to collapse the campfire.

Step 6: Ready for Marshmallows!

Building a Campfire

As the campfire burns, continue to add firewood to keep the fire burning. This setup is perfect for toasting marshmallows or making mountain pies.

Fire Safety Caution - never leave a campfire unattended while there are open flames. To extinguish the campfire after the firewood has burned down, use the shovel to turn and bury the ashes in the fire ring. Water can be added slowly to douse the fire, being cautious that hot ashes aren't sprayed outside of the fire ring as the water is added.


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