Clear a 10-foot-diameter area around the site. Remove any grass, twigs, leaves and firewood.
Before you build your fire, make sure you have a source of water, a bucket and shovel nearby at all times.
Gather three types of wood from the ground.
Never cut whole trees or branches, dead or alive. Live materials won’t burn, and you’ll be damaging the forest. Dead standing trees often are homes for birds and other wildlife.
- Tinder: Small twigs and dry leaves, grass and needles.
- Kindling: Sticks smaller than 1″ around.
- Fuel: Larger pieces of wood. Keep these stacked upwind, away from the fire.
- Loosely pile a few handfuls of tinder in the center of the fire pit.
Best for cooking
- Teepee: Lay the kindling over the tinder like you’re building a tent.
- Lean-to: Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.
- Cross: Crisscross the kindling over the tinder.
- Log Cabin: Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces at right angles. Top the “cabin” with the smallest kindling.
- Ignite the tinder with a match or lighter.
- Wait until the match is cold, and discard it into the fire.
- Add more tinder as the fire grows.
- Blow lightly at the base of the fire.
- Add kindling and fuel, the larger firewood, to keep the fire going.
- Keep the fire small and under control.
A campfire can be one of the best parts of camping, or provide necessary warmth to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Just don’t forget your responsibility to maintain and extinguish it to prevent wildfires.
- Never cut whole trees or branches, dead or alive. Live materials won’t burn and dead standing trees — called “snags” — are often homes for birds and other wildlife.
- Once you have a strong fire going, add larger pieces of dry wood to keep it burning steadily.
- Don’t burn dangerous things like aerosol cans, pressurized containers, glass or aluminum cans. They could explode, shatter and/or create harmful fumes or dust.
- Keep your fire to a manageable size.
- Make sure children and pets are supervised near the fire. Never leave your campfire unattended.
- Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
- Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops.
- If you do not have water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire.
- With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed and still smoldering.
- Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool.
- If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave
- It is your responsibility to pack out everything that you packed in, including any trash.