How to properly light a campfire?

How to properly light a campfire?

A bonfire with friends is the best way to strengthen relationships, celebrate, singing and roasting sausages. Certainly for many of you lighting a bonfire seems extremely simple. However, it is worth checking whether you do it correctly and in accordance with applicable law. Check it out for yourself!

Lighting a bonfire is easy, but there are a few rules to keep in mind!

Throwing a sheet of burning paper under pieces of wood will not give you a well-lit fire. Therefore, we present short and quick tips on lighting a fire, details of which you will find later in the text.

  1. Choose the right materials.
  2. Arrange the right pile.
  3. Create the right conditions to create a flame.
  4. Keep the fire obtained.
  5. Remember that the weather can spoil your plans, but with the right knowledge and experience you can easily handle it.

Choosing a place:

First of all, it is worth remembering that bonfires cannot be lit wherever we like. Among the available places we have a choice:

  • private property,
  • a specially designated position (usually a circle surrounded by stones) in the areas of scout and tourist bases and recreational areas,
  • area at a distance greater than 100 meters from the wall of the forest.

Remember! Pursuant to applicable regulations, "in forests and mid-forest areas, in meadows, peat bogs and heaths, as well as at a distance of up to 100 m from the forest border, it is not allowed to perform activities that may cause a fire hazard, in particular: 1) starting a fire outside designated areas for this purpose by the forest owner or manager."

The exception are specially designated places.

Kindling, source of fire and air, or what to look for:

  • kindling: a material that will easily catch fire but will not burn quickly, e.g. birch bark or cotton wool (especially useful when natural materials are wet). We place fine brushwood on the basic material (a lot of dry birch twigs or conifers). Then set a layer of thicker brushwood and, depending on the type of focus chosen, finally lay the branches. About the types of outbreaks in a moment.
  • source of fire: traditional or storm matches, lighter or tinder,
  • air: without oxygen, the fire will not ignite, so the kindling and subsequent layers of brushwood should be laid in the right distance - a well-arranged bonfire will gradually ignite itself.

Bonfire in bad weather? Why not?

Many people assume that it is impossible to light a wet wood fire. We say it is a matter of a bit of knowledge and motivation. The most important element when lighting a bonfire in bad weather is to have a larger quantity of dry kindling than with traditional lighting. It is worth having a pocket survival kit, in which you can find flammable substances.

Once you start a fire, don't give up when you see more smoke than fire. Be patient. Slowly add more pieces of fuel - adding wood in the right time will allow it to dry, which in turn will accelerate its ignition.

If you managed to ignite the flame, try to keep the focus diameter as small as possible. Slowly add more layers of wood. It's best if you build a campfire well or a lodge. Then you will be sure that the heat is concentrated inside and the sticks will dry out efficiently.

Easy to light woods (quickly burning): birch, spruce, pine, ash, larch, hazel.

Wood difficult to light (long burning time): oak, alder, beech, maple, acacia, linden, willow.

Wood emitting a lot of heat: beech, oak, hornbeam, birch, spruce.

When lighting a fire in unfavorable conditions, start with wood that is easy to light, only when the flame is large, add wood with a longer burning time.

You can find more information in the movie.

Types of Bonfire

Below we present the most popular types of bonfires:

Bonfires typesAdvantagesDisadvantages
WIGWAM (TEPEE) + large flame
+ lots of light
+ ideal for heating
and drying clothes
- consumes a lot of fuel
- burns very quickly
- requires a tripod if you
want to cook on it
SWEDISH, TORCH + perfect for cooking
+ stable construction
+ long burning
+ even bright light
+ good for heating up
+ low wood consumption
- requires tools, e.g. ax
or saw, to be prepared
PYRAMID (FLAT) + long burning
+ ideal for a bonfire
- little light
WELL (SIGNALING) + da lot of heat
+ lots of light
+ ideal for signaling
- burns very quickly
STAR (INDIAN PILE) + fuel saving
+ perfect during night time
+ good for cooking
- a small flame
- little heat
- little light
- hardwood recommended
The "T" OR
+ perfect for cooking
+ fire in the upper part
+ cooking embers at the bottom
+ convenient and practical to use
- requires more preparation time

When the bonfire glow dies down already ...

It is important to remember that campfire heat, even if there are no more flames, can cause a fire. Therefore, if you are going to end the bonfire, you should dim it with water or sand or part the heat to make sure that everything has completely cooled down.

In a situation when in the morning you want to cook water for coffee or tea, it is worth watching it. Thanks to this, a maintained flame or embers will help you, with a minimum effort and energy, to start the fire again.

Author: Joanna Rassmus

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