The ancient man valued fire. Man learned how to build a fire because it would keep him warm during the night, provide light whenever he needed it and cook his food. A fire was also used as a form of security to scare away wild animals.
Like it was in the past, the connection between man and fire continues to flourish. The need for a fire may be slightly different in the modern world, but one thing is for sure, a fire will always play a big role in man’s life.
Camping is one of those activities that requires you to know how to build a fire. Therefore, having the necessary skills to build a campfire is not only timeless but also essential in a big way.
For instance, if you are one of those people who likes to explore the wilderness, you may need to build a fire from time to time. Besides that, starting a fire is interesting and fun. It gives you a sense of accomplishment as you struggle to get it started from scratch until it eventually blossoms into beautiful flames.
Starting a fire isn’t a difficult task at all. Nevertheless, you have to find a suitable place, especially, if you are doing it outdoors. In this article, we will look at how to build a fire indoors and out.
What You Need to Build a Fire
It is imperative that you find a safe place if you are to start a fire in the wilderness. You don’t want to go down as one of the infamous people who start a raging fire, and then it goes out of control and burns the park to the ground. Therefore, safety should come first. Fortunately, some camping sites have some select areas where you can build your fire.
Before building any kind of fire check your local fire restrictions that may be in place. This a great resource for nationwide fire restriction information.
Making a Fire Pit
In case there is no designated fireplace, you will have to create your own. While you do this, it is prudent that you settle for a place without bushes, trees or other dry materials that can easily catch fire. The most ideal fire bed should lie on bare earth.
If you can’t find a perfect spot, you can always dig and clear the plants surrounding the preferred area. The dry plantation is the most hazardous, so you want to make sure you create a significant cushion against it.
After you have identified and cleared the area, you can make your fire bed. What you need to do is collect some dirt and gather it in the middle of the area. Form a thick platform using this dirt, and ensure its size can hold the fire you intend to build. This is what we call a fire pit. A fire pit helps you to control the fire by keeping the wood in place. It also prevents the fire from overriding certain boundaries.
What kind of tinder or materials do you need to find?
To build a fire, you will need numerous materials. This will include fuelwood, kindling, and tinder.
Finding good tinder makes a huge difference as every campfire needs tinder. Tinder catches fire easily, which makes it ideal to start a fire even in unfavorable conditions. Although the best decision would be to bring your own tinder, which can be an old newspaper or homemade char cloth, you can always improvise.
This means that you can use some of the materials that are readily available in the wilderness. For example, you can collect dry sticks, leaves, bark or grass.
Sometimes, however, it gets wet outside, making it impossible to find anything dry. This is where bringing your own tinder comes in handy.
Besides catching fire easily, tinder burns fast. For this reason, you will need something else to maintain the flames lest they burn out and die.
Furthermore, if you start adding thick wood to the fire before it completely catches on, you risk putting it off and starting all over again. This could be frustrating. So what’s next?
Kindling should be your next step. Kindling consists of some type of wood that is slightly thicker than tinder. With an already burning flame, kindling should catch fire easily. Think of the width of a pencil. The materials you use as kindling should be about that size. It could also be sticks or twigs and has to be dry.
When kindling burns, it forms some form of coal, which is essential for building a prominent lasting fire. This is the kind of fire you want to build, a fire that can burn thicker logs of wood.
Now that your tinder has played its role, and the kindling has set a good foundation for the fire, you need fuelwood. This is what will keep the fire going. Your choice of wood should be thick enough to burn at a considerable pace.
Strike the right balance while selecting your wood. Remember, if you go for wood that is too thick, it may take longer to catch fire. You want to go for wood that’s about the size of your wrist.
How to Build a Campfire in the Rain?
Conditions in the wilderness are not always friendly to start a fire. Nonetheless, rain should not deter you from building and enjoying a fire. Starting a fire in the rain is usually a daunting task.
This is simply because the rain can easily frustrate your efforts and put off the fire. However, with the right strategy, you should be triumphant.
So, how do you build a fire in rainy conditions?
The first hurdle to overcome is finding the right place to lay your fire. This should be a dry spot. You can also build some protection over your chosen fireplace. Consider outcroppings as well as below thick tree branches.
Your second challenge is to find dry tinder that will prevail against your present conditions. If it is already wet, look for tinder from dry places like under tree branches, in the crooks of trees or any place that the rainwater hasn’t touched yet.
If you can barely find dry tinder, use your knife to split any wood that may be wet on the surface but dry inside. Shave off tinder from the dry parts and you are good to go.
In addition, you can bring your own firestarter. Dry lint or tea bags dipped in wax makes a great fire starter. Look for kindling; this can be found on covered branches, wood, sticks or bark. Your tinder and kindling should be completely dry. As for the fuelwood, you can always put it next to the fire to dry.
As you lay the fire, arrange your kindling in such a way that it burns from bottom to top. The goal is to protect your kindling from getting wet due to the rain. The top layers should protect the rest of the kindling from wetness. Also, make sure that your fire has good exposure to air since it’s covered.
How to Build a Fire in a Fireplace
If you have a fireplace in your house, then you have all the reasons to make your living room warm and cozy during winter or any other cold times. The first thing you want to avoid is filling your house with smoke. So, clean and sweep your chimney to ensure that there aren’t any blockades. For the same reason, open the damper.
Warm up the flue by lighting a newspaper and placing it in the damper. This is important for priming the flue. You should hold the burning of newspaper in the damper until you feel that the draft has been reversed. After this, get back to starting your fire.
Get some ash to create a fire bed if you don’t have any. At the bottom of your fire grate, stack your fuel logs. The smaller logs should lie on top. Place your kindling on top of your stack. Add your tinder on the topmost of the stack, and start your fire.
Rest assured, this kind of arrangement will give off a clean fire. On top of that, you don’t have to do much to keep it going.
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Some of the best firestarters include using a magnifying glass in sunny conditions. A magnesium fire starter also works fine as it is often combined with Ferrocerium, which easily sparks a fire when struck. However, there are numerous fire starters that you can get from your household.
For example, you could carry cotton balls and petroleum jelly. If you dip them in melted petroleum jelly or wax, they become highly flammable. An alcoholic hand sanitizer does a great job also when squeezed on the wood, so you can carry some.
Tips for starting a campfire
If you plan to go camping, a campfire will probably be the highlight of your day. This is why you should plan meticulously beforehand.
Throw in a firestarter in your camping items. You may also be required to prepare your own tinder, so, carry your knife just in case.
If you can carry your own tinder, then that’s a bonus. Think about the weather and plan for it in advance because sometimes it rains when you least expect.