How To / Outdoors Tips

Fire Building 101

fire

by Justin Fricke aka JustinTheWeekendWarrior

***Note from ENO:  Before you begin assembling any form of outdoor controlled fire, please check with your local authorities and/or NOAA for fire weather risks and forecasts.  You can also learn about wildfires and how to prevent them at smokeybear.com***

Do you smell what I smell? No, it’s not the smell of a pumpkin spice latte from your favorite coffee shop. It’s the smell of fall! And what’s the best way to welcome fall? Having a nice fire outside, if you ask me.

There’s nothing like the smell of burning hickory wood on a nice star-lit evening. They’re a ton of fun, but it can be a pain to keep the fire going and keep everyone warm if you don’t build the fire the right way.

Personally, my favorite fire building design is the teepee. It’s a simple design and gives off the most heat in the shortest amount of time. Due to the design, you can even burn damp, green wood, making this an ideal design for any type of environment.

  • Step 1: Gather your fuel-I’m not talking about fuel like gas or diesel, I’m talking about the three different kinds of wood you need. First, the tinder or anything that’s extremely dry and burns easily, like wood shavings, coconut husk, hay etc. Next up would be kindling or small sticks and twigs to put on top of the tinder to get a larger flame going. Lastly are the larger sticks and sometimes even tree limbs and logs. This is what gives off all the heat and helps make those larger flames.
  • Step 2: Set up-Find a nice sturdy stick that you can lean a lot of other sticks up against and shove it into the earth. Take the tinder and spread it around the bottom of this stick. Start leaning some of your bigger sticks, logs, etc. up against the stick that’s standing upright. Place wood opposite of each other to make sure everything stays balanced. Do this until you have a small opening on one side of your teepee.
  • Step 3: Light it up-Take your lighter/matches and light the tinder on fire. Once you see some solid flames, carefully start placing your kindling on top of the burning tinder. By this time you should see flames hitting the bigger pieces of wood leaning up against that centerpiece. Place more wood over the opening to completely close it up and you should see a nice teepee design.
  • Step 4: Sit back and relax-Now’s the time where your hard work pays off. You get to hang with your friends, roast some weenies, make s’mores, and have some fun. When the original teepee burns up, it should fall onto itself. When this happens, grab some more wood and just rebuild it. The burning coals should give off enough flame and heat to re-ignite the fire. If it doesn’t re-ignite right away, typically a little extra oxygen by gently, and carefully, blowing near the coals is all that’s needed

Make sure you only build your fire in an area without the chance of lighting something else on fire. Typically a pre-built fire pit is the best way to accomplish this. Never, under any circumstances, add a fuel source to the fire other than what you can naturally find in nature…don’t pour gas, diesel, oil, etc. on the fire!

FIRE!!

This is my favorite fire building design, but there are many others. What’s your favorite fire building design?

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