Can’t seem to keep your campfire lit? Whether you’re camping deep in the woods or right in your backyard, keeping your campfire lit is important for several reasons: it provides warmth, cooking fuel, a relaxing atmosphere, and it even repels insects like mosquitoes. The good news is that most campfires will stay lit without any additional work on your behalf. There are times, however, when an otherwise perfect campfire will go out. So, what causes a campfire to go out and how can you prevent it from happening?
It’s Not Getting Enough Air
Going back to the basics of fire-building 101, every campfire needs three things to stay lit: fuel (wood), heat and an oxidizing agent (air). Assuming you have wood in your campfire — and your campfire is burning — neither fuel nor heat are likely the problem. A lack of air, however, can certainly make it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night. This is why many outdoor survivalists recommend building a teepee-style campfire, which is characterized by an open center through which air flows.
The Wood is Wet
Another common reason why campfires go out is because the wood is wet. In order for wood to light — and stay lit — it needs to be dry. If it’s too dry, combustion won’t happen; thus, the campfire will likely go out. If you’re camping in an area where there’s little-to-no dry wood, consider bringing your own.
The Wood is Too Thick
When choosing wood for your campfire, select a combination of small, thin pieces, as well as larger, thicker pieces. If all of the wood is thick, it may struggle to ignite.
Not surprisingly, the climate can affect whether or not a campfire stays lit. If it’s raining outside, the water will saturate your campfire and wood, causing the fire to go out. Even if it’s not raining, however, excessive humidity in the air can cause a campfire to go out. Humidity is defined as a measurement of moisture vapor in the air. Although you can’t see it, moisture vapor is all around us. When it’s particularly humid outside, the moisture vapor will saturate wood, making it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night.
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