Tips to help you build a fire

Use these simple steps to build a fire at your next campout.

step-13.jpg1. The Right Spot

Clear the area of debris, avoid overhanging branches and make sure your fire is a safe distance from tents and other flammable materials. Build your fire on an earthen pad like this one.

step-23.jpg2. The Right Material

The three types of natural fuel are tinder (material that burns easily such as dry grass or shavings whittled from a stick), kindling (slightly larger material such as twigs that will burn with a little encouragement) and firewood (dry branches that will be the main fuel of the fire). No shortcuts allowed—never use flammable liquids.

step-32.jpg3. The Right Shape

Two ways to build your fire are the tepee, in which you arrange the kindling in the shape of a tepee over the tinder, and the lean-to, in which you push a small stick in the ground at a 45-degree angle with the upper end pointing into the wind. Place the tinder beneath the stick and lean the kindling against it. Light the tinder and add kindling as needed. Add the larger branched last. Never leave a fire unattended.

step-42.jpg4. Put It Out Way Out

Pour water on the fire, stir the ashes with a stick, pour some more. It’s not out until you can run your bare hands through the coals.

Comments about “Tips to help you build a fire”

  1. BOB says:

    it just helped me in a school project I like this website

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tips I will try the lean to next time I make a fire

  3. Thanks says:

    Thank you this is good advice. Another kind of fire is the log cabin.

    • kamp king says:

      on my last kamping trip we had to build our own fire i built mine really easy but this other kid just light leaves on fire and it was a smokey mess. the worst part was i was down wind from him

  4. butt says:

    Me and my dad started a fire he rubed a stick with bark and dead grass

    • Anonymous says:

      My troop had a contest to see which patrol could light a piece of paper on fire by rubing sticks together

  5. Run DMC says:

    Are you kidding, ” It’s not out until you can run your bare hands through the coals”? So if they’re not out, I am supposed to burn my hands? Better advice would be to place your hands OVER the coals until you don’t feel any more heat.

  6. Sly Fox says:

    Two other great fire starters are dried birch bark and, my favorite, newspaper rolled into 1″ barrel rolls- tied with string and dipped in parafin wax. The wax paper will start even if wet. This is something I learnt from the “How to” Cub Scout book. I also wax dip my matches; makes them waterproof and they burn longer too.

  7. Awsome Guy says:

    My troop always bring along some paper to get our fires started. I always have: Magnesium bar, Strike anywere matches, flint and steel, and a lighter.

  8. skeeter says:

    my scouts all use utah juniper bark, charcoal, and flint and steel. with a little practice they can build a great fire in less than a minute, just takes a little practice.

  9. houston says:

    this is stupid

  10. jib says:


  11. Moose12317 says:

    Do they say that somewhere in the Webelos handbook???

  12. eric says:

    im doing this for rpoject

  13. wbarr says:

    i like fire

  14. killer123 says:

    i want to try this really badly

  15. crb9181 says:

    What I know from is to build a log cabin and then slowly add a tepee when the fire is burning higher. And also use a key stone fire pit this works great when you are cooking!

  16. king tut says:

    all them fire methods are good the log cabin is the best i think so anyway.

  17. Pinky says:

    I think these tips are awsome and they have pictures to show us what they are talking about.

  18. The Jose says:

    Once at scout camp (S bar F), our voyager patrol had to burn through a rope 20 in. high by building a fire. Our team did it in about 10 minutes, but that night, when we wanted to show off our skills, we couldn’t get it started. (Luckily, our SPL stepped in and helped.)

  19. superscout says:

    Those are all great ideas. This has been the most rewarding website that I have ever visited!!!!!! My life has changed for the better. I am completely amazed.

  20. Wolfkid says:

    One good fire I know about that gives of a lot of heat but little light is the dakota fire pit. wat you do is you dig to holes in the ground about 12-18 inches in diameter and about 12-18 inches apart from where I heard. then you dig a tunnel to connect them. then in the one that is downwind you put the tinder. then you light it. The air will flow from the empty hole to the one with the fire supplying it with oxygen. this is a good fire for if you are a soldier trying to survive behind enemy lines. Good tips by the way

  21. h1ggggg says:

    I think that your tips are really helpful, keep on truckin

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. brick3 says:

    log cabins are the best because the tinder and the kinling get enough air, but not enough to blow it out. easy to care for

  24. Spazz says:

    True, a log cabin fire is great but only once you get a fire going good and strong.

  25. draconic says:

    shooter470, that pretty much is true but pine needles make to much smoke

  26. Calahan says:

    Ya no that advice works great but I got in trouble because the fire was in my backyard 8o()

  27. shooter470 says:

    I Think that log cabins are the best because: Exellent air flow, tinder and kindling are in the middle to ignite the firewood. Use lots of pine needles while using any fire: Ignites quickly and burns hot. 2 other materials that help fires 1 ratsnest 2 charcloth

  28. Jdabw says:

    good advice thanks

  29. ertyuiop[' says:

    I learned a lot

  30. Trp334FL says:

    Just some tips guys:

    When making your fire (remember to have earned your Fireman Chit), down here in Florida, we use starter, not kindling. Our types are Starter, Tinder, and Firewood. Starter usually consists of Pawn Frawn, amd the rest is described up there. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT PUT IN SPANISH MOSS! It just makes a smoky mess. My first time on making a fire to Fireman Chit, I kept putting starter in it because it kept dying off. You can do that but after a while you need to stop and put DRY Tinder in it, then Firewood.


    Troop 334, Florida

  31. j says:

    but how do u get the fire started

  32. frogman says:

    u can get flint buy taking apart an emty lighter.its the thing under the round pece.it looks like a pencil tip.same size.but it workz

  33. frogman says:

    u can also usu a rock called flint

  34. frogman says:

    u can also use flint

  35. someone713 says:

    you should denfinetly try a log cabin.

  36. Static9 says:

    Thanks for the advice, guys!

  37. Gothmog says:

    really good instructions

    really it doesn’t help you build better fires though, just how to build a fire

  38. dhappjr says:

    their should be the log cabin

  39. Jay says:

    I can’t wait to go to camp and try out your suggestions.

  40. rkid says:

    it helps

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