Bonfire in the forest.

A campfire is almost an essential part of a successful camping trip. It provides light, warmth, and a place for everyone to gather around, tell ghost stories and roast marsh mellows at the end of your long, fun filled day. If you’re about to go camping and do not know how to build a campfire, it might be a good idea to learn. Below is a simple, five-step beginner’s guide on how to build a campfire.

Step 1: Gather all of your fuel and required materials. You will need tinder (a material that will flare up at the touch of a match, such as newspaper), kindling (thin branches and split wood), as well as larger logs to keep the fire going. Be sure that the wood you are using is dry or it will be harder to light and the fire will create more smoke. Clear a wide space at least 10 feet from any trees, plants, or other objects. You will need to light your fire on bare soil without any debris in the way.

Step 2: Create the base of your fire. The easiest way of doing so is making a teepee or pyramid formation with your materials. First, place a good amount of tinder in the center of the area designated for your fire. Then, place the kindling vertically around the tinder so that it forms a teepee. Remember that fire needs oxygen so be careful not to smother your flame by placing too much kindling around the tinder.

Step 3: Get your fire going by first catching the tinder completely on fire. You can blow very gently on the flame to help the process. Once the tinder is lit, the flame will hopefully spread to the surrounding kindling. It may take a few tries, but with a little effort and perhaps a lot of tinder, you will soon have a blazing fire.

Step 4: Keep your fire lit by moving burned thru kindling to the center and replacing it with progressively larger logs until your fire reaches a desired size. If your fire happens to get too large, simply pour a few buckets of sand or dirt on the part you wish to extinguish. This will contain the flame and make it smaller.

Step 5: Put the flame out when done. It is unsafe to leave fires unattended, even for short periods of time. In order to ensure the fire is completely out, thoroughly douse all embers in dirt or water. After this, stir around the ashes to make sure no more smoke arises. DO NOT simply bury the fire as it could smolder and catch flame again.

Some helpful campfire safety tips:

  • Keep all flammable objects a safe distance away from any fire, matches, or lighters.
  • Make the fire just big enough to meet your needs.
  • Build a small barrier around your fire to help contain it.
  • Always have water or an extinguisher nearby for accidents.
  • When done, make sure the fire is completely burned out and no flames or sparks can be seen. 

Bethy Creek Resort is a favorite Lake Livingston camping site that offers RV campsites in Texas, wooded tent sites, and real Texas cabins. Learn more at www.BethyCreek.com

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