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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hill

How to Light a Camp Fire

Glamping just isn’t glamping, and camping definitely isn’t camping, without your own campfire. Here at Berridon Farm you’ll find a private fire pit right in front of your cabin.

Fire gives us a connection with nature like little else (maybe surfing on a freezing December morning, but that’s another blog post altogether) and gives a real focal point to huddle around in the evening. It’s a source of heat, a fuel for cooking – and in days gone by an important tool for survival.

But survival shouldn’t be high on your list for your annual holiday or a mini-break but toasting marshmallows definitely should.

At Berridon Farm your campfire site has already been identified, but if you’re using these tips elsewhere the first thing you should do is choose your spot. This should be away from trees, overhanging branches and anything that could potentially catch a flame and spread the fire.

Start to build your fire on an earth or gravel surface, and choose a place shielded from potential wind. If you’re on a grassy surface, you’ll be best to cut out a square of turf out and place it carefully to one side (so you can replace it post fire when all embers have completely cooled).

To protect the fire from weather and winds, it helps to dig a slight pit and then surround it with rocks and stones, these will stop the fire spreading and also help absorb and reflect the heat.

You’ll ideally need three types of fuel - Tinder, Kindling and Wood

  1. Tinder - something that catches fire easily, and burns fast this could be dry leaves, dry bark, wood shavings, paper or dry moss. If the weather’s not great you’ll need to work a bit harder as wet tinder doesn’t catch or keep fire very well)

  2. Kindling - tinder burns very fast, that’s its job, but you’ll need something more substantial to get the fire going, this is where kindling comes in. if you move directly to logs you’ll just smother the flame. Kindling usually consists of small twigs or pieces of thin dry wood. Like tinder, kindling needs to be really dry or else it won’t burn but will smoke and smoulder

  3. Wood – this the field which keeps your fire hot. Choose longs about the diameter of your arm, so not too big. You can add bigger logs onces the fire is really hot. Round logs coated in wet bark will be reluctant to light and burn.

You can buy a trug of campfire logs for £5 which has a selection of dry logs of different sizes to get your campfire going and keep it going.

Build your fire

There are lots of ways to lay your fire, but we’d suggest the teepee technique. This is basically a pyramid shape where you start with your tinder pile in the centre of the firepit, then use small pieces of kindling around it in a teepee shape. Leave a small opening in your teepee on the sheltered side of the tepee, this allows you to light the tinder, and feeds it with oxygen.

Add some more layers of kindling to the teepee, working your way up in size, to small logs. When the fire is lit, the flames are directed upward from the tinder, lighting the kindling and then the wood. The structure will eventually fall, and then you can just add more logs.

Keep your fire lit

Once your fire is lit, you’ll need to add wood to keep it going strongly. Remember to leave space between pieces of wood for air to flow and feed the fire.

Build up, not out – creating a higher pile of wood rather than a flatter pile will help it burn better, as it burns it collapses into itself.

It’s important that you stay with a fire while it’s lit, and once you leave the fire extinguish the flame by pouring over a glass of water.

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