Fire Building Techniques

Starting Your Campfire


Tinder must be easily lit with a lighter, match, or spark and must be 100% dry. We suggest dry pine needles, dry grass, or pine cones.

Kindling is usually anything smaller than a pencil. Look for small, dead, twigs on the ground but never deface a living tree or shrub to build your fire.

Fuel is dry, dead fall wood, no larger than the size of your wrist or lower leg. Again, do not cut fresh timber for any fire! Green wood does not burn. No wood brought on to camp properties please.


You've collected your fire starting materials, now what? Pile them on and hope a fire starts? No, of course not!

You should start a fire first by igniting the tinder bundle. Once this starts smoking, add kindling a little at a time until it's burning well, then, add your fuel (dry wood) a little at a time.

How about starting a fire without matches? Yes, there are techniques for that too! They include using flint and steel, a magnifying lens, or friction. Mastering one would be great, all three even better. You can find specifics on any of the resources listed below or using the wide world of Google and YouTube.


Put your fire completely out! Douse your flames with water or cover with snow. As Smokey the Bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

We appreciate your efforts in completely putting out fires and leading with a leave no trace attitude.

3 Great Resources:

  1. The BSA Field Handbook has some pages on Fire Building
  2. Baden Powell's 1st Edition Field Handbook
  3. Camp Lore and Wood Crafts by Dan Beard
Fire Building Techniques