How to Build a Campfire

Book excerpt from Summer: A User's Guide, Published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.

How to Build a Campfire

Building campfires can be educational, fun and a real treat for kids of all ages. Just be careful…!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Kindling (sticks, small logs from fallen branches, dry leaves, paper) and logs
  • Bucket of water, or water source
  • Shovel
  • Small- to medium-sized rocks and stones (for optional fire ring)

WHAT TO DO

1 Build your fire at least 10 feet away from tents, trees, roots and other flammable items. A fire ring is simple to build with stones and rocks and helps contain the fire. If you can’t build one, just clear a space 24 to 32 inches across.

2 Gather dry firewood and kindling, using only fallen branches, then build a small, loose pile of twigs, dry leaves, paper, and kindling, allowing space for air to flow through and feed the fire.

3 Build a pyramid of dry twigs and small sticks around and above the pile of kindling, allowing space for the air to flow through and feed the fire. Light the kindling with a match.

4 As the fire grows in strength, add increasingly larger sticks, then logs, making sure to always leave enough space between them for the fire to breathe.

CAMPFIRE SAFETY TIPS

Building and Burning

  • Build a fire only as big as you need.
  • Never build a fire near tents or other flammable items.
  • Never use flammable fluids to start a fire.
  • Never leave fire unattended.
  • Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby just in case.

Afterward

  • Make sure to completely extinguish the fire when you’re done.
  • Scatter the ashes or embers, then sprinkle with water. Stir with a stick. Repeat.
  • Drench the charred logs.
  • Repeat until everything is cold.
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