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. Here are a few more tips on courteous wild camping.

Read Comments

You might also like

What short, beautiful novel should I read? I’m trying to read more broadly these days. And, specifically, I’m trying to read short, beautiful books to help me with a book of my own that I am trying to write. This morning I posted a question on social […]...
Are You Earning Money For The Sake Of It? Let me ask you a question: “Are you earning money for the sake of it?” It’s quite a provocative question, but it’s a useful question. It helps us reframe where earning money sits in our lives, and what our real […]...
Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey from City to Sea An imaginary journey swimming from city to sea, inspired by Roger Deakin’s wonderful wild swimming book, Waterlog. If you haven’t read it, I would urge you to buy a copy. The text to the film is all quoted from Waterlog. […]...
 

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
  2. michael sutherland Posted

    Alastair hello to you sir and I am loving your information. I have a question. Imagine a worst case scenario and you are forced to live in the woods as there is an epidemic loose in the city or the aliens have landed and you want to hide. What tips do you have for survival ie what to eat, how to keep warm and how to keep clean ( ish ) In other words a long term stay in the woods.

    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