Campfires should be set up with plenty of caution if you are to avoid wildfires. Remember, one simple mistake can lead to a serious fire, and your trip will be ruined. Wildfires cost countries and should be avoided by all means, especially if you are out in the woods.
In case you find a fire pit that has been used before, then you can go ahead and use that hole. It is not necessary to build a new pit where there was a previous one. However, if there are no previous fire pits then clear an area (about 3 feet in diameter), preferably, a flat ground and enclose the area with a ring of rocks. Ensure that you build a sturdy ring of rocks that can hold your fire comfortably. After you establish the ring, ensure that nothing extends into your fire pit as this may compromise the safety of your campfire. Gather dead or dried wood from the surrounding area and make sure the material does not extend out of your fire pit.
Some materials that you may need to set up a fire include:
• Wooden matches (preferably those that are waterproof)
• Some dry logs that can easily fit into your fire pit
• Newspapers or other material that is easy to ignite
• Twigs, sticks or other kindling material
To light up your fire.
• Make a pile of paper scraps and twigs right in the middle of your fire pit
• Over the pile, construct a pyramid of small sticks, making sure that they balance against each other with room for air circulation
• Light a match and hold it to the paper scraps and twigs until they ignite. Spread the kindling to several places within the fire pit.
• Once the sticks have caught fire, you can begin adding wood to ensure the fire gradually increases. First, make sure the smaller woods catch fire before you add the bigger woods
• Once you have a good fire, you can add thicker logs. Lean the logs against each other to ensure you leave enough room for air circulation
Ensure that you always have a bucket of water near or a shovel that can be used to throw dirt onto the fire in case it gets out of hand. Also, ensure that you take all the safety precautions while lighting the fire. Most importantly, ensure there is no gasoline or lighter fluids around the fire. The figure below shows an example of a campfire on the banks of Timaru River.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that you should check the regulations in the area you are visiting to ensure that fires are allowed.
Reviewing the rules will help you know better concerning where the fire should be built. You may be surprised that there are some seasonal restrictions depending on the vegetation. Do not always assume and put up a fire because you were permitted on your last trip. Also, check on regulations about gathering firewood and kindling. Some recreation areas and parks do not accept gathering, meaning you will have to come ready with your wood. In most cases, you will find wood being sold by the campground host, but you need to confirm this information before you set out for your trip.