Written by Timothy Martinez Jr.
Whether you’re roasting marshmallows or basking in the warm heat, the campfire is a prominent staple of a memorable camping trip. Here are some tips for setting up a successful and safe campfire.

Whether you’re roasting marshmallows or basking in the warm heat, the campfire is a prominent staple of a successful camping trip. Its warm glow, satisfying smell and distinct crackle can invigorate any camping experience.

Finding the right location

The first step to setting up the perfect campfire is to find a great spot. At many authorized campsites, they typically have prepared fire pits. However, if you are camping deep in the woods, there are a few things to remember. Look for a small clearing that gives you enough space to set up and fit the amount of people you’re planning on having. Make sure your spot is not near dry trees and hanging branches that will easily catch fire. Also, avoid any location that has a thick canopy above and is slightly enclosed by brush and trees. Smoke can become trapped by the surrounding growth making it unpleasant to breathe.

Preparing the fire

Once you’ve found the right spot, you need to prepare the area before actually light the fire. Establish a circle and clear any extra brush or debris out of the area. Dig a hole in the middle of the circle so it accommodates the preferred size of your fire. Place stones around the pit to further contain the fire, and begin placing the wood, coal or campfire starter kits in the pit. Though not necessary, you should keep a bucket of water or sand available nearby just in case the fire inadvertently spreads.

Lighting the fire

Once everything is set up, it’s time to light the fire. There are a wide variety of campfire lighters, many of which you can buy here, such as waterproof matches, flints and magnesium fire starters. Light the fire and place it over the kerosene, coal or dried wood. If you’re using matches, remember to discard them in water or sand. Simply throwing the match on the ground could accidentally start a wildfire. Once the fire has caught on with the material, fanning it and placing more items on the top will help keep it going strong for as long as you like.

Extinguishing the fire

Putting out the fire is one of the most important steps of the entire process. Failing to properly put out the fire or leaving it unattended could lead to disastrous wildfires. Using the bucket of sand or water you have nearby, slowly put out all the flames. If you don’t have sand or water available, put the fire out by letting the fire burn all the wood and not refueling it. Before leaving it however, make sure to cover the remaining ashes and embers with dirt. There should be no smoldering material exposed or leftover, especially in areas of dry brush.

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