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image of a man making a fire

One of the most important outdoor survival skill to have is an understanding of how to safely build a fire pit.

Learning this skill gives you the know-how to keep warm and cook food in cold weather, not to mention, acting as a line of defense from other animals.

In this article, we will be going over the two key aspects of building a safe fire pit in the woods: safety guidelines and the basics of construction.

1. Clear Out a Campfire Area

It’s advised that you clear out at least a 10-foot area around your fire pit. To do this, remove any tree limbs, grass, and leaves from the clearing around your fire pit.

You can always use a hoe to better clear out this area. However, while doing this it’s important that you do not disturb any current ecosystems or homes of other emails.

So, it’s suggested that you look for a pre-cleared area that can make it easier on your part and prevent and disruption from other animals.

2. Dig Out a Fire Pit                                

Decide how big your fire pit should be, then start digging! However, aim to have your fire pit to be at least one foot deep (1.5 feet is ideal).

Most people use a shovel to dig their fire pit, but we found it more helpful to first use a hoe to loosen the dirt, and then start digging.

If you find any rocks while digging, you can use those to outline your fire pit and prevent your fire from spreading outside the pit.

3. Outline Your Fire Pit Using Rocks

Like we mentioned before, you should outline your fire pit with rocks to prevent your fire from spreading past the pit.

It’s best to look for large rocks to rest a fire poker on, and further prevent any sparks from igniting the grass outside your fire pit.

Another thing that you should keep in mind that rocks can explode under a certain temperature. It’s best to specifically look for rocks that are dry, hard, and have a constant color to use around your fire pit.

Rocks that you should not use include limestones and chalks since the heat from your fire can break them down.

Building Your Fire

STEP 1: Collect Your Tools

Unfortunately, there’s more to building your fire pit than simply spreading stones around in a circle. In this part of our guide, we will be going over building your campfire.

Here are the supplies that you will need:

Tinder is commonly known as the easiest and smallest tool to help get your fire going, it can take a variety of forms that you can collect to start building your campfire, these include wax, lint, fire starters, cardboard and wood shavings.

Kindling is the next step up from kindling and usually consist of small branches or twigs. However, they can also be dead tree bark which can catch on fire easier (just make sure it’s dry).

Firewood is the fuel of the fire. This type of wood should be one to five inches in diameter and can be anything from whole to split logs. However, your firewood should be completely dry and contain no rot. Another thing to keep in mind is that all your firewood should already be dead. There’s no need to cut down trees to benefit your fire. After all, if everyone did this, there would be no forests left.

Matches & lighters are your tools to light your fire. Although you can try using a ceramic firesteel striker or firesteel, but using matches or a lighter can light your fire within seconds.

Step 2: Enjoy Your Fire!

Now that your fire is lit, it’s time to enjoy it. All your hard work has finally paid off and you can now get warm or cook a delicious meal.

We hope this guide can finally give you the emergency skills you need. However, before you go, check out our list of fire safety tips below. We promise they’re more important than you think.

Bonus: Campfire Safety Tips

After you’re done with your campfire, it’s time to safely diminish it.

Follow these important safety tips to properly dispose of your fire and prevent any forest fires while you’re at it:

  • Pour water on all of your logs, including embers, until it stops hissing.
  • Stir your campfire remains with a shovel to leave no flame or ember unturned.
  • Scrape off embers on remaining logs and drench them with water.
  • Keep stirring your fire until everything is cool to the touch.
  • If you’re out of the water, feel free to use dirt. Mix the dirt with the embers until they turn dark. It’s important that you do not bury your fire and mix it instead. If you bury it, your fire will keep on soldering and catch tree roots on fire, which may spread to a wildfire.
  • If you’re hunting small animals you’ll need to build a fire that is at least 2 feet wide in order to cook them properly.

Now that you’ve mastered your fire pit building, fire building, and fire safety, you can safely begin making your own fire pits.

It may seem like a hassle to learn about these tips and instructions, but it can help you safely manage fire on your own. More accidents happen than you think and the last thing you want is to become a statistic.

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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