How to

10 May 2016

Fire-Building: Safety and Correct Preparation

It seems natural that someone would know how to build a fire. Everyone’s gone camping at some point, even in the back garden or living room. A crackling fire goes hand-in-hand with tenting as does stories told round it. Not to mention s’mores! Never had one?! Thank me later.

Today is the day you’ll learn how to safely build a fire.

Mosby Building Arts

1. Insuring an ignition source is of the utmost importance, obviously, since without it there can’t be a fire.
  • A lighter or matches will be the most efficient way of starting the fire. Lighter fluid is not recommended or necessary.
2. Next up is gathering tinder, kindling, and the main fuel source, the very elements necessary to build a fire upon.
  • Tinder – a highly flammable material which is used to catch the spark from the ignition source. 
             o Examples include dead plants or grasses, moss, lint, shredded bark, paper, pine needles, and dry                   leaves.

  • Kindling – a flammable material, bulkier than tinder, which catches fire from the tinder and can keep a steady flame in order to light the main fuel source.
             o Examples include twigs, cardboard, and large pieces of wood split into smaller pieces.
  • Main Fuel Source – fuel used to sustain a fire once it’s sparked. 
          o Examples include logs, peat, dried animal dung, coal, pine needles, even wet fuel can be used since                they will likely be dried out by the time the fire is going full force.

3. Establishing a fire pit, by laying out a ring of stones and digging a pit, will ensure that your fire is insulated and contained.
  • Fire can be built on a wet surface simply by using a platform of logs. As added protection, a layer of a non-flammable material should be packed on top of the platform. 
4. Assembling the fire structure is done by first placing the tinder in the centre of the fire pit with enough space to allow for airflow. Then, using kindling, construct a tepee on top of the tinder, making sure to leave an opening through which to light the fire. When assembling the fire structure, start with smaller pieces of wood and work up from there. Using your larger logs, build a square structure around the tepee.

5. Now the fun part, lighting the fire! Have some tinder on hand to feed the freshly-caught flames. Lighting a few places can help start the fire quicker.

Safety Tips:

Ensure that you have proper space for a raging fire by considering and accounting for the projected size of the fire.

Keep any ignition sources, kindling, tinder, or fuel far away from the fire.

If it’s windy out, be sure your fire pit is well-formed and sit upwind of the smoke.
Don’t forget your s’mores materials.

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).