Creating ‘Green’ Campfires

Now that summer is in full swing, camp fire season has begun.  Building a camp fire can present some difficulties and Solar would like to present some ‘green’ ideas in constructing camp fires.  First, collect dead wood and brush from the ground, but do not cut wood from trees.  This ensures one is selecting wood that is already dead.  This will help protect the trees that provide fuel for future fires and also ensure the selected wood has naturally ‘dried out’ making it easier to ignite.  One should always follow safe practices before starting a campfire, including protecting the fire area with either a bowl, digging out a recessed area, or surrounding the area with stones to keep the heat in and preventing it from spreading.  It is important to have water on hand in the event that excess heat or a wayward spark happens to spread to the surrounding area.  Use water that was previously used to wash hands or dishes, especially when camping, and is considered ‘dirty’.  This water should serve for extinguishing needs without using valuable drinking water.

When it comes to constructing a fire, there are two popular styles, tepee and chimney.  The chimney version is often referred to as a log-cabin style build.  Generally speaking, the fire should be started at the base with tinder, which catches the kindling, which in turn burns until the larger pieces of wood heat up and ignite.  The tepee style fire leans the corresponding size pieces against each other, creating two to three concentric circles on the ground joining in one point at the top, creating a cone.  The log cabin or chimney style is constructed by laying two pieces of wood in a parallel direction creating a tunnel between the two.  Then, lay two similar size pieces of wood in the perpendicular direction on top of the two existing pieces.  The tinder and kindling are centered in the created square and lit.  Both of these construction styles are popular because they generate air flow, one of the two required elements to ensure a successful fire, and create an ‘oven’ that can keep coals warm until morning.

Solar wishes everyone a safe and happy fire season.  Remember, taking the proper precautions ensures a safe and happy summer for everyone. (Photograph compliments of Wikipedia)