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Building an Outdoor Campfire

If you're building a fire outdoors, you'll need to be a bit more resourceful than if you had the comfort of a fireplace. This means you'll need to find the wood, kindling, and tinder, and you'll need to build a small fire pit if you don't already have one.

Make sure you're away from trees, bushes, or anything that burns. You don't want to be starting any forest fires. Also, if you're at a campsite, double-check that fires are permitted in the area. Ideally, this location will be protected from the wind to make it easier when you start your fire.

Build a small fire pit. To protect the wood from falling apart into the area where you're sitting, dig a small hole and surround it with rocks. If your campsite already has a fire pit (or you've built a backyard one yourself), you can obviously skip this step.

To ensure that your tinder stays dry, build a small platform of sticks in the spot you intend to have the fire. Place the tinder in a loose pile (again, you want air circulation) at the center of this platform. This platform will also help air circulate to the fire as it grows.

The teepee structure truly is the best fire for most applications. Divide your kindling in different sizes from smallest to largest. Once your tinder is lit and burning, place your smallest kindling in a teepee formation on top of the tinder (watch your fingers). Once that has caught, place the next largest kindling in a teepee on that, and so on.

Once you've reached your largest kindling pile, prepare to add your logs, again from smallest to largest. If any of your logs appear to be damp, reserve those until you have a good bed of coals and are positive your fire cannot go out.

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