Wood Burning Fire pits – What better way to enjoy a crisp, cool evening than with a outdoor fire? An Outdoor fire can be built for a variety of reasons, from communal wood burning fire pits to a campfire cooking outing. No matter how you intend to use it, you want an outdoor fire that is built correctly and safely. In this two part article we will be discussing a few different types of outdoor fires, and the best way to build them.
Wood Burning Fire Pits must be built in a safe location
The first step to an outdoor firepit or camp fire is to ensure you are burning in a safe area. Brush fires and wildfires are no joke. Every year wildfires cause the destruction of natural forests, homes and even the loss of life. An alarming number of them are started by irresponsibly maintained campfires or wood burning fire pits. Avoid being part of the problem by ensuring your fire is started and kept responsibly. If you are camping in a place with an area intended for campfires, use it. If you are building a fire pit in your backyard, or building a campfire in a location without a designated fire spot, ensure your chosen area is away from trees, shrubbery and other plants, as well as at least 10 ft from any structure or building (be sure to check local bylaws). Your fire should be built on dirt, rather than on grass (dry grass is especially dangerous). If no such area can be found, simply make your own by digging down a couple of inches. You may choose to ring your bare area with stone to mark the fire zone.
How to Build Safe Wood Burning Fire Pits?
Next, build up some dirt in the center of your circle that creates a bed about 3” deep. One of the most common outdoor fire structures is the teepee method. This method can be used both in camp fires as well as wood burning fire pits. The teepee method is started by placing your tinder in the center of your circle and surrounding it with a teepee formed from kindling. Leaving an opening on the windward side of your teepee will allow air to flow through and feed the flame. Build around your original teepee, gradually increasing the size of your kindling until you are building a larger teepee out of your firewood. Lastly, light your tinder and watch as the flame lights first the kindling teepee and then the firewood teepee. When the teepee structure collapses, you can just add logs to keep the flames going.
When you’re ready to put your campfire out, allow at least a half hour. Many wildfires are started by people who tried to put out their fires too quickly, or who assumed they were out when hot coals still burned under the ashes. Using a bucket of water, slowly put out the flames, embers and charcoal of your fire using a little water at a time. It’s not wise to soak the area, in case you or someone else wishes to build a fire there later. It’s hard to build a fire on wet ground! While pouring water, use a large stick or some other implement to stir the area, helping to get complete coverage. Last, before you leave the area, use the back of your hand to test for heat. If you place the back of your hand above the ashes and feel heat, you’re not done and get back to stirring! If the ground is cool, you’re all done!