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Proper Fire Starting and Safety | Duluth Pack

Knowing how to start a campfire in the wilderness is an essential skill. There are also many fire safety items to mention. Many of us are familiar with what happens when fires get out of control, such as the Australian wildfires, the California wildfires, and the Amazon wildfires. With a little knowledge of fire safety, you can help prevent forest fires. 

Fire Ring Preparation

Before you start your fire, clear the area of anything that might catch a spark. Next, line the edges of your fire ring with rocks. This is for proper containment. The bottom of the fire ring should be on dirt. Make sure there is no vegetation leaning in from the sides.

Gather the Materials

Before you start to make your fire, you have to find the proper materials. There are three different types of materials - tinder, kindling, and wood. Tinder is a material that catches fire quickly and easily. It's small and flammable such as wood shavings, paper, cardboard, wax canvas strips, or fire starters. Next is kindling, which is small twigs or branches.  Finally, gather the wood, which is material greater than 1 inch in diameter, such as logs. It is not allowed to cut down trees, but if the tree is already on the ground you can cut it up with an axe or the Tuff Camp Saw.

Building the Fire

There are many ways of building a fire, but the most common way is the teepee method. This method creates a teepee of wood, slowing building up to larger sizes. For this type, place the tinder and kindling on the bottom of the fire ring. Place the kindling, around it creating a teepee, and finally, place the wood on top. A different way, called the log cabin method stacks the logs to look just like the name states - a log cabin. Place the tinder and kindling inside the fire log cabin.  The final concept is a lean-to fire, which is similar to a teepee, except only one side is slanted. To build this, place a log down first across the fire ring. Next, put the tinder and kindling down next to that log. Finally, place more logs on top of the kindling.

Lighting the Fire

After you have gathered the materials and built a fire, it's time to ignite. To have the best results, light the tinder in multiple areas to get the fire to grow faster. Never put gasoline in the fire, as that can result in a dangerous explosion and affecting the safety of yourself and the ones around you. If you use lighter fluid, put that in before lighting the fire because the flames could travel up the stream and ignite the entire bottle.

Now that you have the fire built, it's time to enjoy it. The best way is to roast s'mores, sharing stories or cooking food over the fire. Some great memories can be created by sitting around the crackling fire and sharing stories.

Putting out the Fire

After enjoying the warm fire, it is time to extinguish the flames. The best way to put out the fire is by pouring water on top of it until there are no more flames or embers. To make sure it is all the way put out, stir the coals around to ensure they are all extinguished. During winter, you can use snow to put the campfire out and be sure to bury the whole fire to ensure there aren't any hot coals or fire remaining.

Fire Safety

Check the rules. The first thing to do is to make sure fires are allowed in the area. Be sure to look for signs, and if you cannot find signs be sure to ask someone. A fire ring doesn't mean that fires are allowed.

Properly prepare the site. Make sure the site is clear of all vegetation that may catch fire. Be sure that there are also no overhanging branches or weeds that may easily catch fire. 

Check the weather conditions. A steady breeze can spread the fire into other nearby areas, potentially resulting in a wildfire. If it has been dry for an extended period, there is a higher chance the fire will spread.

Have the right equipment. It is a good idea to have a shovel nearby and some water. The shovel to create the barrier and water to extinguish the flames. 

Have fun. Having a fire in the wilderness is a great way to create many memories and create close bonds with your friends. Be safe and always use proper techniques to ensure the safety of yourself and the others around you.  

Fire safety can prevent uncontrollable wildfires from taking place. We have seen how devastating the effects can be with the Australian fires. If you would like to donate, click here.

Use #PersonBehindThePack on social media and let us know how you use your Duluth Pack during the seasons. We might feature your story on our blog, The Pack Report

Adventure on, friends