Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Perfect Campfire

         How to Make the Perfect Campfire Every Time! 
Recommendations to improve fire building skills:  By Scoutmaster Mr. Toryak   


Step 1: Fire Safety

Make sure that your site or area allows campfires. Before you even start your fire or even gather your materials, check the regulations of your campsite. Check the fire danger level in the area and make sure that you have your Fireman Chit, which you are required to have to make a fire. 
Check your surroundings. Look for loose or hanging branches that could be above the fire, and make sure you are making your fire in a designated fire pit. Make sure that it is on dirt and not anywhere on or near leaves or grass, and anywhere close to trees.

With these in mind, you are ready to go!

Step 2: Gathering Your Materials

Gather all supplies before you even start to build your fire. "First, make sure everything you need is at your fingertips"Fire needs wood, obviously, to burn. You need three types of wood: Tinder, kindling, and fuel. 

Tinder: Dry grass, leaves, or shaved bark from trees. 

Kindling: Dry sticks: You should have a lot of kindling varying from toothpick size to pencil size to thumb size! 

Fuel/Wood: Wood that should be as thick as your wrist and as long as your arm. 

"Your kindling has to be very thin, dry and well seasoned.  I always have 3 thicknesses, I start with (in abundance). By well seasoned, it should really crack/ snap when you break it.  If it really bends before breaking, it’s still too fresh.
I’ve used a mechanical pencil here for reference.  You can see how I stack it up in size & orderMake sure that the materials you have are dry. You can check by snapping them, and it should snap and make a cracking sound." 

Step 3: Assembling Your Materials

Make sure your tinder is tight and bundled up together. "Next, your tinder has to be pretty tight.  The stuff you used today was great but you just piled it in and it was really loose.  All that does is allow it to burn really quickly and without direction. Look at my tinder (almost the same stuff), I balled it pretty tight.  Similar to a bird's nest.  This allows for slower airflow but it smolders much more creating and keeping heat."

Take your kindling and lay it around your tinder. Teepee, Log Cabin, and Lean-to are three options for setting up a strong fire but Teepee is the best and almost always work. If you are making a fire on a metal surface, use rocks and place it around to balance your sticks and make a good teepee. "Then, later on, lay your kindling thinnest first.  Go all the way around, then add the next thickness, then the next.  Have your thickest wood ready to place on once you have a true fire." 

Step 4: Keep it Going! When your fire is lit, take your thickest wood/fuel and gently place it on the fire once it started. Do not toss it in else it will shock the fire and fire will extinguish. Gradually add more sticks to keep your fire going. Don't use all of it at once though! 

"Once smoke starts I blow purposefully and directly into the heart of the fire.  You have to gauge needs and change force as it grows."  You can take a stick and lift the bottom of the fire and blow if flames start to die.

"Always remember that a smaller fire is always easier to feed and manage, especially when in a survival situation.  A drawback is that it is also a bit easier to put out when it rains or there’s high winds.  However, it is very easy to build the size of the fire once started."

Troop 12 Webmaster Shohum Raina 

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