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To Build a Fire

Fire is power. It is man’s unique tool for confronting and acting upon nature. People like to say that they “confront” nature when they go on a hike beyond the nearest known roll of government supplied toilet paper but, most of the time when we partake in the outdoors, we are simply next to nature. Certainly not in it and barely even on it. Just passing through, leaving no trace and treading lightly on the surface. Superficial but safe. Mother Nature doesn’t notice. Fire changes that. It’s the access point to a deeper relationship with nature and the tool that allows us to survive it, withstand it, and destroy it. Few things are as important to the human species as understanding, respecting, and practicing our ability to create and use fire. Sounds fun! Let’s make s’mores!

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Objective

Learn how to properly start and extinguish a campfire

What you need

Time: 15-30 minutes

A safe area free of flammable materials

Tinder (small twigs, dry grass, fire starter)

Kindling (sticks less than 1" thick)

A few larger logs

A shovel

Hose or bucket of water

Source of fire (lighter, matches, fire steel, etc)

Marshmallows (optional)

The echoes of beauty you've seen transpire, Resound through dying coals of a campfire.

- Ernest Hemingway

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Purpose

camping, tourism, hike, family and people concept - happy father and son roasting marshmallow over campfire

This lesson is your opportunity to be, as far as your children are concerned, “The keeper of the flame, the bringer of fire from the gods.” Teaching and TRUSTING your child with this lesson should be a powerful moment for the two of you. Fire is hot and dangerous to the point that those facts are encoded in our DNA but, with training, practice, and confidence, it’s also a wonderful and fun exothermic chemical process that will fuel a lifetime of outdoor opportunity and scientific curiosity in your child.

camping, tourism, hike, family and people concept - happy father and son roasting marshmallow over campfire

Purpose

This lesson is your opportunity to be, as far as your children are concerned, “The keeper of the flame, the bringer of fire from the gods.” Teaching and TRUSTING your child with this lesson should be a powerful moment for the two of you. Fire is hot and dangerous to the point that those facts are encoded in our DNA but, with training, practice, and confidence, it’s also a wonderful and fun exothermic chemical process that will fuel a lifetime of outdoor opportunity and scientific curiosity in your child.

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Review Smokey’s Fire Safety Rules

Make sure you are at a site that allows campfires.

Make sure there are no burn bans and it's not too windy.

Never leave a campfire unattended; a grownup should supervise the campfire at all times.

Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.

Never put anything but wood into the fire.

Do not pull sticks out of the fire.

Review Smokey’s Fire Safety Rules

build-a-fire-smokey_bear

Make sure you are at a site that allows campfires.

Make sure there are no burn bans and it's not too windy.

Never leave a campfire unattended; a grownup should supervise the campfire at all times.

Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.

Never put anything but wood into the fire.

Do not pull sticks out of the fire.

 

 

Pick Your Spot

If there are not designated or existing fire pits, choose a location that is 15 feet away from tents, bushes, trees and doesn’t have any low hanging branches above.

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Pick Your Spot

build-a-fire-infernus

If there are not designated or existing fire pits, choose a location that is 15 feet away from tents, bushes, trees and doesn’t have any low hanging branches above.

Want to skip this step?

Solo Stove's unique design makes them a safer, simple option if you want to skip the digging and brush clearing.

You don't have to worry about smoke and ashes billowing or scorched grass under the pit.

 

Fire pits start at $229 and ship free within the continental U.S.

Natural bonfire on the bottom of the canyon after Sunset Utah Landscape

Prepare the Site

Clear an area of all flammable material 10 feet in diameter.

Dig a pit in the dirt and circle it with rocks.

Prepare the Site

Natural bonfire on the bottom of the canyon after Sunset Utah Landscape

Clear an area of all flammable material 10 feet in diameter.

Dig a pit in the dirt and circle it with rocks.

Build Your Fire

Place your tinder (small twigs, dry grass) in the center and place some kindling (sticks less than 1” in diameter) in a cross on top.

Ignite the tinder. Add more as it begins to burn. Blow gently on the base to give the fire a boost.

Once the kindling has a stable burn going, add some larger logs. These are the fuel that will keep it burning for a long time.

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Build Your Fire

build-a-fire-bonfire

Place your tinder (small twigs, dry grass) in the center and place some kindling (sticks less than 1” in diameter) in a cross on top.

Ignite the tinder. Add more as it begins to burn. Blow gently on the base to give the fire a boost.

Once the kindling has a stable burn going, add some larger logs. These are the fuel that will keep it burning for a long time.

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Leave No Trace

To extinguish the fire, you can let it burn itself out or you can pour lots of water on it. Make sure to submerge all of the embers until the hissing stops. Kill it good. It lived a good life. Show no mercy. If you don’t have a nearby water source (don’t use up your drinking water!) you can cover the embers with dirt or sand. You brought a shovel, right?

Continue adding water or sand/dirt until the site is cool. Do not leave a hot campfire site. If you don’t have enough time to do this right, you didn’t have enough time to start a fire.

Leave No Trace

build-a-fire-group-fire

To extinguish the fire, you can let it burn itself out or you can pour lots of water on it. Make sure to submerge all of the embers until the hissing stops. Kill it good. It lived a good life. Show no mercy. If you don’t have a nearby water source (don’t use up your drinking water!) you can cover the embers with dirt or sand. You brought a shovel, right?

Continue adding water or sand/dirt until the site is cool. Do not leave a hot campfire site. If you don’t have enough time to do this right, you didn’t have enough time to start a fire.

Go build your Strong. Happy. Family.

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