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7 Steps to starting a fire

7 steps to starting a fire

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For those who prefer their adventures a little more on the wild side, with wild camping rather than on a more organised campsite, then there are some rather important skills that you may want to learn before you head off. In addition to understanding how to use a compass, you should also take time to learn how to start a fire. Whether this is how to start a fire with a lighter or how to start a fire with sticks, it is a vital skill when it comes to staying warm in the great outdoors.

Not only will a good fire help to keep you warm, but it will also help to provide light, give you a means of cooking food and help to keep wild animals at bay. If you find yourself in a situation where survival is key, then knowing how to start a fire in the wild is vital.

Remember we strongly believe in the Leave No Trace and a fire leaves a considerable amount trace, but knowing how to light a fire can save your life. Plus setting a fire could save your life if the worst does happen. Plus some campsites allow you to have campfires, so it’s a great skill to have.

If you are completely new to camping, then learning how to start a fire may seem a little overwhelming but here is our step by step guide to show you the best techniques. You may want to consider adding a tinder stick or a fire starter to your essential camping gear as these can prove very practical items.

1.Choose a site

Before you can start your fire, you will need to find the right site. Starting a fire in the wrong place could cause a lot of problems very quickly. You should ensure that you are not too close to any bushes, trees, or plants as these could easily catch fire. In an ideal world, you should be approximately 6 feet from any vegetation.

Prepare the area

2.Prepare the area

You should start your fire on bare ground. If this is not possible then you should create a bare patch by raking away any vegetation that you can. You will also need to make sure that once it is lit your fire can be contained. You could do this by using stones and rocks to create a stone fire ring, as this will help contain your fire and mark out the area where you will set your fire. As a guide, 3 to 4 feet is a good size for your stone fire ring. This also answers the question of how to start a fire pit.

3.Collect your materials

To start a fire effectively you will need tinder, kindling and logs.

If you have not brought any tinder with you, small pieces of bark and dried leaves should work just as well. Small twigs and sticks will serve as kindling and the logs will be placed over these and provide you with a lasting fire. The process of how to start a wood fire is simple if you take your time to collect the right materials.

create your fire structure

4.Create your fire structure

There are several different structures when looking at how to start a fire with wood, but the most common one is a teepee structure. Start by wadding up your tinder and placing it in the centre of the fire pit. The kindling should be placed in a cone around this, forming the shape of a teepee. If you will be using matches or a lighter, then leave a small gap so you can reach the tinder to light it. Use the logs to create a larger teepee around the kindling.

5.Light your fire

Position your flame under the tinder and the flames should then rise through the kindling. Eventually, the logs will catch light as well. If you need to know how to start a fire without matches, or how to start a fire without a lighter then you may want to make sure that you add a tinder stick or a fire starter to your essential camping gear as these can prove very practical items when matches or lighters are not available.

Something some people forget when looking at starting a log fire is how to start a log fire and keep it going, especially when the fire starts to collapse. It’s important to remember that logs will collapse when they’ve been burning for a long time, so this is the point where you may put some more wood on the fire to keep it burning.

Extinguishing your fire

6.Extinguishing your fire

Once you have finished with your fire it is important to ensure that it is fully extinguished. If you know you will be moving soon then avoid putting more wood on the fire and allow what is there to burn out completely. There should only be ash remaining. Carefully pour some water onto the ash and then use a stick to move it around to ensure that it is fully out before moving on. If you have any issue putting out your fire then please do report it to the relevant authorities so that it does not spread out of control. However, if a fire is set up and maintained properly, then it should not cause any issues.

Author: Amy

Hi, I am Amy I have two loves in my life camping and writing. When I am not writing for The Expert Camper, I am usually camping. Lake District is one of my favourite spots, but really anywhere in the UK under canvas I am happy.


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