How to build fancy campfires

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Wildland firefighters don’t work night shifts as much as we used to, but many of us have experienced a long night when there is not much mopup left to be done and it’s 2 a.m. The temperature is in the 40s or 50s, and the chill starts to creep into our sweat-soaked clothes. We might have thrown some unburned branches onto a smouldering hot spot and encouraged them into flames, seeking a little warmth.

That’s about the simplest campfire there is. But maybe you should step up your game.

Rakovalkea long-log fire
Rakovalkea long-log fire. Illustration by Robert Prince.

Field and Stream has an article describing 10 fancy campfires. This is not your typical missive about how to START a fire with tinder, kindling, and one match. We’ll assume you know that basic stuff. These fires all have a specific purpose, such as burning all night, signaling for help, sheltering the fire from wind, streamlining ignition with duct tape, and building a fire under a tarp.

Do you have hours to kill and need to stay warm? Impress your colleagues with one of these.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.