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  • Writer's pictureIsaac Rudolph

How to build a fire

Wherever you will be building your fire, you will need some way to contain it. The best and easiest way to do this is by simply digging a small pit to build you fire in. Your pit doesn’t need to be any bigger than 3 feet across and about 6 to 10 inches deep.

Letting a fire get away from you can become very dangerous very quickly. The easiest way to prevent this is to have a source of water nearby.

Preparing your fire

When making a fire it is helpful to understand the two most vital things a fire needs to burn: Fuel and oxygen.

The type of fuel you will be using here is wood, branches and sticks that you can find on the ground in the woods. Start off by collecting small, thin sticks about the thickness of a toothpick. I’m not kidding, you need them to be that small. Smaller sticks will light easier and once those start to burn you can add larger sticks and so on. We will call these small sticks number 1’s. You are going to need at least 2 big handfuls of these number 1’s. Once you have all the 1’s you need, go back and collect some more, cause you probably don’t have enough. I say that because I know that collecting a bunch of tiny sticks isn’t the most fun in the world, but lighting a fire can be, and it will be much easier, and much more fun if you have the right amount of materials.

Next start looking for sticks just a little bit bigger and those are your number 2’s. Collect enough of those to make a small pile and put them next to you fire pit. Next collect some 3’s which are about the size of a pencil. Again, make a pile of these next to you pit. Then do the same with bigger sticks and make a pile of 4’s and 5’s.

Keep collecting sticks of growing sizes until you are able to pick up and make a pile of branches and dry logs. This is what will keep your fire burning once it is lit.

Lighting your fire

Now that you have all the wood you need, it’s time to actually light the fire. Place a short log about as big around as a tennis ball in the middle of your pit. Then begin leaning your 1’s against the log in an X pattern. Once you have a good number of 1’s together, you are ready for your first match. Light the match and hold the flame at the point where the sticks cross. It may take a few tries to get it to light, that’s fine. A fire is rarely lit by the first match. After the sticks light and begin to burn on their own begin to gently add more 1’s. Take care not to knock over the flame. As the flame spreads begin to add your 2’s and gently blow at the base of the flame. Be careful not to blow the fire out though. Think of blowing out birthday candles in slow motion. Keep adding sticks until you work up to 3’s and 4’s and finally to your full sized branches. As you add sticks keeping blowing on the fire to get it going. Doing this provides the fire with more oxygen which helps it burn. Once your fire is burning 3’s and 4’s you probably don’t need to worry about blowing it out any more. If you begin to feel light headed from blowing too much, take a break. You can also try to use something to fan the fire with for the same effect.

The lit fire

Congratulations, you have started your fire! Now you can use it for cooking or other things useful for camping. Enjoy your fire!


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