All the steps to the perfect campfire or bonfire

July 28, 2015

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or keeping warm while camping, it's important to construct your fire safely and sensibly. Here's how:

All the steps to the perfect campfire or bonfire

Gather your supplies

For both kinds of fires, you'll need the following:

  • Tinder (dry twigs, paper, dry pine needles)
  • Kindling (small, short sticks)
  • Firewood (dead branches or dry logs)
  • A bucket of water in case the fire spreads

Build a campfire

  1. Clear a space of all combustible material. If the ground is wet, use dry wood as a platform.
  2. Place a handful of tinder at the centre of your fireplace. Make a "box" around it with kindling. Build up a teepee or cone shape for cooking. A pyramid, constructed like a log cabin, is best if your fire is for warmth.
  3. Place firewood around the outside of the box, so that the flames spread from the tinder to the kindling to the firewood.
  4. Light from the side that's sheltered from the wind.

Make a safe bonfire area

Bonfires are much larger than traditional campfires, so be sure to take special precautions:

  • Light your bonfire when it's least likely to affect neighbours — not on a warm, sunny day.
  • Let your neighbours know before you light your fire.
  • Make sure that someone is supervising the fire at all times.
  • Keep children and animals at a safe distance.
  • Place the fire away from buildings, sheds, fences and overhanging trees.
  • Use only dry wood. Damp material, green leaves and branches from live trees will produce clouds of unpleasant smoke.
  • Don't burn household waste, especially rubber, plastics or painted materials.

Build the perfect bonfire

  1. Start with a heap of kindling that will burn quickly.
  2. Place a log or some woody prunings at either side, then two more logs across the top to make a platform.
  3. Build up the pyre with a crisscross of more branches, brambles, logs and other woody material, tapering towards the top.
  4. Fill any big gaps with more kindling or smaller twigs and branches.
  5. Light with a rolled-up newspaper torch. Never use paraffin or gasoline to get the fire going.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu