Camping Fires

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Lighting a fire is a fundamental skill in Scouting.

Fire provides us with:

  • warmth,
  • heat to cook food or boil water,
  • the a focal point of a scout campfire.

Before starting consider some safety precautions:

  • Clear the surface area around the fire site of fuel - to prevent the fire from spreading. The grass might be dug out (andput one side to be replaced and minimise the impact on the environment).
  • Build the fire away from overhanging branches that may catch fire.
  • Protect the fire from wind that can blow away sparks and hot embers causing a risk of wildfires.
  • Build the smallest fire necessary for the task - this reduces any risks of fire spreading.
  • Have water or loose sand to put out any uncontrolled parts of the fire.

If a scout is a skilful fire-builder with reasonably good materials should only needs one match, but this needs practice, good fire-building skills and proper preparation.

Types of fires

Gypsy fire

Gypsey Fire
Gypsey Fire
This is similar to a star fire - but has a tripod over it to hold a cooking pot. The un-burnt ends are pushed into the fire.

The un-burnt ends of the fuel are pushed into the fire as it burns down.

Trench fire

Trench Fire
Trench Fire
This fire has a number of advantages:

As it is below ground, it gives off little light - important in cases where scouts don't want to attract attention.
The ground on either side of the trench is used to support pots over the fire.
The trench protects the fire from the wind.

Altar fire

Altar Fire
Altar Fire
This is used in a formal (established) campsite. The raised level of the fire makes it easier for cooking.

Reflector fire

Reflector Fire
Reflector Fire
This fire is used for warmth. The reflector may be made of wooden logs or stones.

In wet conditions the reflector can be used to dry out wood for the fire.

Hunter's fire

Hunter's Fire
Hunter's Fire
Two parallel logs are used to make the hunter's fire. These two logs can protect the fire from wind and be used to balance pots over the fire (similar to the trench fire).