Camp Cooking Fuels Wood Fires A Safe and Suitable Fire Area Pick out a good place for your fire and make it safe so the fire cannot spread or burn anything. Choose a spot where there are no overhanging tree branches. Next clear the ground so the fire cannot possibly spread, clearing away leaves, grass and sticks. You will need a place that will support your grill, kettle or frying pan from logs, bricks, or flat stones. Be sure not to pick slate, shale or schist stones because they rocks break and sometimes explode when they get very hot. Have a bucket of water or sand with a shovel near the fire in case you quickly need to put it out.
Have the Wood You Need Your wood fire needs three different kinds of fire material-tinder, kindling and fuel. The match lights the tinder, the tinder lights the kindling and the kindling starts the fuel burning. Tinder must be as thin as a match and start to burn as soon as it is touched with a flame. Good tinder snaps as you break it. Use thin twigs, tops of dried weeds, wood shavings. Kindling is little sticks and can be as small as a pencil or thick as your thumb. It should also snap, rather than crumble or bend. Fuel is the larger wood that keeps your fire going. Make sure that it is dry and not green. Make a woodpile. Stack your wood in three separate piles, one for tinder, one for kindling, and one for fuel. Make sure it is far enough from the fire, that no sparks can fly into it. If you are out overnight, cover it with plastic or waterproof material to keep it dry. Building a Foundation Fire This is a fire made with tinder and kindling and its job is to make enough heat to get the fuel burning. Get your tinder and kindling ready. You need two handfuls of tinder and four handfuls of kindling. Make a shape of an A using larger wood. Carefully place the tinder along the cross of the A. This way there is air underneath it and there is space for your match. Remember the elements of fire- air, heat, and fuel. After you have put the tinder in place, light the match. Kneel near the fire and strike the match away from your body. Turn the match so the flame catches on the matchstick.