Show/Hide Navigation
fire
 

Advice on Lighting Fires

Having a campfire to sit round and tell tall tales whilst you toast marshmallows makes any microadventure more magical. But, perhaps more than for anything else in the world of microadventures, the rules of common sense and courtesy apply about where it is appropriate to have a fire. It’s also important to note that lighting fires when wild camping is not legal.
  • Do not light a fire where there is a risk of it spreading – peat moors, corn fields, dry forests and petrol station forecourts are all pretty obvious examples. Whenever you light a fire you must be certain that you will be able to extinguish it at any time. Never light a fire on private land without permission where it could cause offence or be an eyesore. As a general rule, only light fires in places where nobody is likely to come by until all trace of it has grown out. Always keep your fire small.
  • Don’t hack down live wood. It doesn’t burn well, for starters. But it’s also not good environmental practise. Light fires away from tree roots as flames can damage them for a long time. Gather dead, standing twigs (ie still caught and hanging off the ground) – not only does it burn better, it hasn’t yet become an important part of the ground ecosystem.
  • If possible, dig a hole before lighting a fire. This will help keep it out of the wind and contain the fire. Replacing the earth and turf in the morning (once the fire is absolutely extinguished) also helps prevent ugly scorch marks and minimises the visual impact of the fire. If you cannot dig a hole then ring your fireplace with large stones to keep it contained. Never use soft, hollow or wet rocks as they could explode. If the ground is particularly wet (or on snow) lay a base of green logs to keep the fire off the wet ground until it is established.

Please, please be courteous, careful and leave absolutely no trace when you depart the next morning.

Read Comments

You might also like

Spreading Adventure and Wilderness to a Wider Audience This weekend, two small things of note. The first, a bunch of friends came to stay for the weekend. Various John Muir Trust leaflets happened to be scattered on my coffee table (a dedicated Trust member, me!). My friends picked […]...
40 Every month I visit the Lake District to spend a day running in the hills. It’s good for the body, good for the head, good for the soul. I film the run and chat to myself about whatever feels important […]...
 

Comments

  1. Eddy Hope Posted

    Alistair, love what you’re doing and find it really inspiring. Can I just mention that when wild camping open fires are not allowed (full stop). Your article doesn’t differentiate and could come across as permission to light fires anywhere.

    Reply

 
 

Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

 
 
 
© Copyright 2012 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved. Site design by JSummerton