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Tips to help you build a fire

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

Step 1: 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. One option is to build your fire on an earthen pad like this one, but make sure to do it in a way that leaves no trace when you’re done.

Step 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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.

50 Comments on Tips to help you build a fire

  1. you did a great job telling us the steps.

  2. Cool

  3. thitherurtian79 // October 5, 2015 at 9:04 am // Reply

    my class is gonna use this at overlook farms

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

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

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

    • kamp king // May 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm // Reply

      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

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. this is stupid

  13. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  15. im doing this for rpoject

  16. i like fire

  17. killer123 // May 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm // Reply

    i want to try this really badly

  18. 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!

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

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

  21. 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.)

  22. superscout // May 6, 2008 at 11:34 pm // Reply

    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.

  23. 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

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

  25. cool

  26. 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

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

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

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

  30. 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

  31. good advice thanks

  32. ertyuiop[' // July 8, 2007 at 11:09 am // Reply

    I learned a lot

  33. 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

  34. but how do u get the fire started

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

  36. u can also usu a rock called flint

  37. u can also use flint

  38. someone713 // June 23, 2007 at 9:35 pm // Reply

    you should denfinetly try a log cabin.

  39. Thanks for the advice, guys!

  40. really good instructions

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

  41. their should be the log cabin

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

  43. it helps

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