Clear all burnable materials from your 10-foot fire circle. Don’t build the fire under overhanging branches of trees or shrubs or near roots of trees.
Never leave your fire unattended.
Should always have two water buckets at your fire ring at all times in case sparks start a fire away from the fire circle. There should also be a water bucket near each tent.
When you are finished cooking, make sure the fire is out. Spread the coals and ashes and sprinkle them with water stir and sprinkle until the site is cold. Feel it with your hand to make sure.
The universal indicator of a dead fire is a stick stuck up in the middle of the dead fire.
A fire needs three different kinds of fire material.
Tinder – Kindling – Fuel
Tinder – should start to burn as soon as it is touched with a lighted match. Use thin twigs (pencil lead size), tops of dried weeds, thin wood shavings, dead or dry pine & cedar, etc. Remember to keep it tiny tinder. At least enough to make the size of an adult fist (two fists is even better). If you are in a forested area – look down – tinder is everywhere. Gently poke a small “cave” into the center of the tinder pile for an ignition place. Now start stacking the kindling on top of the tinder.
Kindling – small sticks about the size of a pencil. The Webelos book says thumb size –get a good size stack of pencil size first. Stack it about as tall as a big coffee can and then start with the thumb size pieces. If you will take the time to do the tinder & kindling, this is the most work involved in fire building. Do not attempt to light it until you have a supply of fuel ready.
Fuel – the larger pieces of wood needed to keep the fire going. Arm size & up – a saw is usually needed to cut them to useable size. Always collect up enough in the evening so you’ll have plenty for your morning fire. Keep a tarp or plastic sheet over the woodpile in case of rain. Keep a large coffee can full of tinder in a dry area – wet tinder just won’t do well. You’ve kept the ignition cave open through the kindling – if the wind is blowing, place your back towards the wind to block it & cup your hands around the match. Place the lit match through the kindling into the tinder – gently blow to help it ignite. Once the tinder has started, the kindling burning – gently keep feeding larger fuel to it. Too much too fast could put it out. Take your time – do it right. Take all the steps & do it once. Impress your friends & relatives. If you learn this skill well – you will be one of the minorities that will always be able to start and keep a campfire going. Most good cook-fires are the coals that have just enough fuel wood added to keep the coals going. Flame cooking is a good way to ruin food.