How to Build a Fire

Ever since men began to walk, fire was the most important think to civilization. It cooked your food, smelted your metal, kept dangerous creatures at bay and harnessing fire changed the course of the word. Starting a fire can be done various ways. I will not go into how to get one started by rubbing sticks together or making a bow. I will demonstrate proper fire building using tinder and flame. This way you will be able to make a nice bonfire during your next camping trip!

Required Materials/Tools

  • Small twigs, brush, paper, dried leaves (tinder)
  • Large twigs, smaller pieces of wood
  • A few small logs, possibly a bigger one
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Pile of rocks
  • Bucket of water
  • Hatchet for chopping larger wood if necessary


  1. First we need to get the fire pit ready. Circle the are you wish to light the fire with rocks. Make sure they form a large circle. Remove brush and any other vegetation within this area.
  2. Organize the materials you gathered by size. Tinder will burn quickly and will be used to keep the fire hot, larger pieces will not burn as quickly. The large logs will take a while to get on fire.
  3. First arrange a small pile of tinder in the middle of the fire pit. Do not pack it down. Air needs to circulate to give the flame life. Put a few sticks on top of the tinder so it can catch fire quickly.
  4. Light the tinder on three sides of the base. Let the fire build up by gently blowing on the tinder.
  5. When you see a small flame, add more tinder to the fire. Let the flame get bigger and establish coals at the base of the fire.
  6. Slowly keep adding small tinder till the flame is quite sizeable.
  7. Add large wood piece to the fire one at a time. If you throw too many on you will smother the fire. When placing the larger pieces of wood, build a # sign on top of the fire, this gives even placement for the flames to catch fire.
  8. When those pieces light, add some more larger tinder and prepare to add the final large logs.
  9. The logs you choose should not be too big, when adding them, you want to make an = sign by placing the main coals in-between them and let the outer flames catch the logs on fire. If you want it bigger add more logs on top of the fire, making a # sign.
  10. Build the final height of the fire to the way you want it. Be careful of sparks and make sure additional brush piles are FAR away from the main fire.


  • Keep water with you at all times. If it ever gets out of control, douse it with water and or sand.
  • When putting fire out, stir the coals and make sure there are no sparks.

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