No camping experience is complete without a fire. Campfires bring people together, promote a social environment, provide warmth, and they offer a means of cooking food. However, you should carefully choose the right location to build a campfire, which is something we’re going to discuss in today’s blog post.
Overhanging Limbs and Brush
When choosing a location to build a campfire, make sure there are no overhanging tree limbs, branches or brush. Even if the flame doesn’t reach the height of an overhanging tree limb, it may produce enough heat to ignite it — or a stray ember could float into the air and reach the overhanging branch.
Check Fire Restrictions
It’s always a good idea to research the local and state fire restrictions before camping. Even if it’s legal to build a fire in your backyard, perhaps the park or forest where you intend to camp prohibits campfires due to the risk of a wildfire. Some parks allow campfires, but only in designated camping areas. Failure to follow these rules could cost you big bucks in fines, so find out if there are any fire restrictions beforehand.
Existing Fire Rings
Depending on where exactly you are camping, there may be existing fire rings around. Other campers often build and leave circular-shaped arrangements of rocks in which to build campfires. If you discover one of these fire rings, consider building your campfire here.
Don’t Build at Base of Hills
You should also avoid building campfires at the base of a hill. If your campfire grows out of control, it can travel uphill fast. This is because heat rises, so fires naturally gravitate upwards. Ideally, you should build your fire either on top of a hill or on a flat and even surface, either of which is a safer solution than building it at the bottom of a hill.
Beware of Duff
What is duff and why should you avoid when building a campfire? Duff is the layer of rotting, decomposing material between the ground soil and pine needles. To an unsuspecting camper, duff may appear to be nothing more than dirt. However, it often contains dry wood and plant material, providing enough fuel to turn a small ember into a smoldering brush fire. Choose a location for your campfire that’s away from duff.
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