The End Is Near

The End Is Near
2nd Amendment

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More On Fire "Campfire Basics"

Of course you know how to build a  campfire.    Everybody
knows how to build a campfire.   That said,  may I timidly  offer
some  suggestions  that could facilitate things a  bit  for  you?
During a lifetime in the outdoors,  I've learned from some of the

  In  places where they are legal,  campfires can serve  as  any
thing from warm friends that are centers of social gatherings  to
life-saving  measures,   during times of  potential  hypothermia.  
Knowing how to build one can be a convenience or a necessity. 

  The  key  to getting a fire going quickly is in  selecting  the
right  tinder.  Naturally,  if you have paper,  that's good  tin
der.   Other good natural tinder is dry moss (wet moss is  terri
ble);   a thin layer of leaves (with enough open spaces to  allow
air through);  very small,  dry twigs (a couple of millimeters in
diameter);   dried pitch nodules;  a handful of shavings  from  a
dead,  standing tree;  the paper-like dried outer layer of  birch
bark;  and dead brown needles from any type of conifer tree. 

  In  my  opinion,   the last is the best.  It will  get  a  fire
started  quicker than anything else I've found,  including  pitch
(which is also very good).   I once stared a warming fire  during
a  hunts trip in the British Columbian Rockies when it was  rain
ing,   and there were six inches of wet snow on the ground.   All
the  materials I used were wet,  and I had no paper.   My  tinder
for  that  fire was dead fir needles.   Dead pine  needles  would
have worked equally well. 

After you have found the tinder,  the next thing to look for are
small  dead limbs - the drier the better.   A good place to  find
such limbs is low on the trunk of a live tree or the interior  of
a  dense shrub,  where they are protected from moisture.    Break
off  the  small ends of these twigs and  place  them  immediately
above  the  tinder,  then use the slightly larger butts  for  the
next layer of campfire material. 

  Next,  look for slightly larger firewood that is suspended  off
the  ground, such as limbs that are still attached to dead  logs.  
Other  limbs and small trees that are not lying directly  on  the
ground also make good firewood. 

  Don't  bother with wood that is in contact with the  ground  or
wood that has begun to rot.   They make poor burning material. 

  Preparing the Materials For a Fire- I seldom use an axe to  cut
firewood.  It's easier and quicker to break the large pieces over
a log or a rock.  Gloves come in handy to protect your hands from
vibration.   The smaller twigs are easily broken up by hand.

  It  pays to break your firewood into relatively  small  pieces, 
not  more than two feet in length.   It is wasteful and  unneces
sary to make huge,  roaring campfires.   Small ones will  suffice
nicely for both warming and cooking. 

  Rock  fire rings can leave long-lasting scars on the  land  and
are  unnecessary.     If I'm not using  an  established  campfire
site,   I place one or two flat rocks next to my fire bed to  set
things on.    When I'm done,  I put the rocks back where I  found
them  and eradicate the fire bed,  returning it to  its  original

   The area around the fire bed should be scraped down to mineral
soil  to reduce the danger of igniting nearby  materials.    More
often than not,  in a forested environment,  this means you  will
be  building  a fire on damp soil.   Damp soil  is  difficult  to
build a fire on for two reasons: 1) The dampness tends to  reduce
the temperature,  which inhibits the flames ability to grow;  and
1) as the fire heats up,  the water in the soil begins to  steam, 
which will also cool the fire - or put it out altogether. 

  To  overcome the damp soil problem,  put a layer of  insulation
between the ground and the fire.   Cardboard from a food package, 
a  paper bag,  or several layers of paper towels,  or some  other
combustible  material that will last long enough to let the  fire
mature  before burning up is all you need.   If you have no  man-
made  material to use for this purpose,  a tight layer of  small,
dry limbs will do. 

Building  the Fire - This is the part where you Boy  Scouts  will
differ  with me.   The Boy Scout method works fine.  This  is  an

Set  two  pieces of wood about four to six  inches  in  diameter
about  six to eight inches apart.   Green ones last longer,   but
dry  ones  work fine.   Put the layer of insulation next  to  the
ground.   The tinder goes between the two pieces of  wood,   then
the  layer of very fine twigs goes across the top,   followed  by
another layer of slightly larger twigs.  Start the fire now,   by
touching  off  the tinder.   Don't add any more  wood  until  the
largest of the twigs are well ignited.   Then slowly add slightly
larger pieces of broken limbs.   When this third layer of fuel is
well  ignited,  the fire will continue to burn well even  if  the
insulation next to the ground is destroyed. 

  It's  important to remember during these early stages to  layer
your  combustibles carefully.   The pieces of firewood should  be
far enough apart to allow oxygen to the flames,  but they must be
close  enough together to maintain enough heat to keep  the  fire

After  building a few fires and studying them,  you will  get  a
feel for the optimum spacing.   This is important, especially  in
cold and/or wet weather. 

  You can start cooking on a campfire as soon as the third  layer
of  wood  is  burning strongly.   This is a good  time  to  start
boiling water.   Vigorous flames create a lot of heat,  and  it's
easy to burn food over them.   I like to pile a pretty good stack
of  medium-sized branches (about an inch to two inches in  diame
ter)  on  the fire and let them burn down to a good  bed  of  hot
coals before I put the skillet over them. 

   Once the cooking is done,  and the campfire turns into a  cozy
spot for socializing or reflecting on the aesthetics of the  out
doors,   larger,  slower burning pieces of wood work  fine.    By
that time the hot bed of coals has sealed off the steam from  the
soil  and created enough heat to keep even damp and  rotten  logs
going.   Again,  frugal selection of proper firewood will  almost
always provide all you need from a campfire.   I seldom use  wood
larger than six inches in diameter and eighteen inches long. 

  There  is nothing quite like a campfire in the great  outdoors.  
It can save your life,  or it can just keep you company.   Either
way,  it is a useful tool.  If you follow these suggestions,  you
will  be able to start and maintain a campfire under  almost  any
kind of weather condition;  you won't exhaust available  firewood
supplies;  and you won't scar the land.  

Campfire Basics

By Bud Journey


No comments:

Post a Comment