The Art of Starting a Campfire – For Cooking, Heat Or Telling Stories

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One would think that starting a campfire is something that everyone knows how to do, this is not the case. Countless times in the past 4 years, I have seen everything from lighter fluid to kerosene used in vary dangerous ways. I even heard a man call to his wife “Honey, bring a cup of gasoline”. I wish I were kidding, I got a blanket ready, just in case.

A common misconception is the need for lighter fluid or kerosene when starting a campfire. The method I was taught by a homeless man in Alaska is a very simple process, and one that rarely fails.

A helpful hint: It is always a good idea to carry dry wood in your vehicle, in case of rain or wet conditions. Kindling (small sticks, dried out grass) along with varying sizes of wood, bigger sticks to different sized pieces of split firewood. You will learn quickly that the small stuff is what matters the most, I did.

Know, building your fire

1. Start with a piece of either paper towel, sheet of paper or hand full of dried grass, I refer to these 3 items as “kindling”. Form into a ball, lightly, and place in middle of fire pit.

2. Place the smallest twigs and sticks over and around the kindling, leaving an open area where it’s easy to get a match to the inside.

3. Place slightly larger sticks over the smaller ones, making sure to leave space for air to reach the smallest twigs and kindling. Air flow is a big component of starting a fire, you want air to be able to move through the fire freely.

4. Now is the time to start your fire. Make sure you have more kindling and smaller pieces of wood near by, you will need them. With a match, lighter or starting device, start the kindling. You may have to blow on our use another match to insure kindling ignites.

5. Once the kindling ignites and the sticks begin to burn, you are in business. Keep adding small pieces of wood, making sure not to smother the fire until you get a decent flame. From there, start adding larger pieces, you will start to see a nice bed of red and orange coals.

6. With a nice bed of glowing coals and a decent flame, you can start adding the split firewood. With the split firewood giving off a nice flame, you can add an un-split log, make sure to keep throwing medium sized pieces (around and under the log) to keep the log burning.

And finally: I have what I call, “a stick of many uses” that I use to move things around in the fire pit. If the fire begins to die down, just start mixing things up. Turn the wood over, readjust, it’s as simple as that, just be sure to use Your stick of many uses.

write by Hubert

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