How to Start a Fire in Any Situation (Explained with Steps)

In our day-to-day lives, we often forget to take some time off and breathe.

With the ever-increasing work pressure and other responsibilities, it seems like we have forgotten how to enjoy ourselves in the company of nature.

Camping comes to our rescue in such cases. The thought of spending some time in the lap of nature with friends and family is the perfect way to rejuvenate. 

But more often than not, the major challenge that appears while camping is the whole process of building a fire. 

And the importance of a fire when it comes to camping is immense. Be it just for the heat or barbeque and smores, making a fire during a camping trip is essential.

If you are not well aware of how to start a fire in the middle of a camping site with primarily natural elements, you have landed up in the right place on the internet. 

Read on to know every big and small thing about the process. 

Preventive Measures

Before anything else, the most crucial aspect when it comes to anything about fire is safety.

We cannot emphasize that preventive measures need to be taken, and all the rules should be thoroughly followed when it comes to starting a fire. 

Accidents don’t wait for anyone and can occur whenever and however. The slightest negligence can lead to massive outcomes such that you won’t be able to bring it under control how much ever you try. 

So a few things to keep in mind before starting to build a fire.

Protective Gear

The set of protective gear includes proper glasses, gloves, and shoes.

When you start a fire with firewood and dry grass or leaves, it is possible that flakes can emerge right out of it and land anywhere near.

To prevent any mishappening, you should not leave your hands, eyes, or feet exposed to these flakes of fire. 

Tie Up your Hair

If you have long hair, you have to tie up your hair, possibly in a bun.

But, on the other hand, if you leave your hair down, you will put yourself at high risk because human hair strands are immensely inflammable. 

Tie up your hair

Find an Open Area

When you are building a fire on a camping trip, possibilities are that you have to live in a tent or maybe just the trailer van in which you are traveling.

Whatever the case be, you should always choose an area cleared of vegetation and is away from your tents.

In addition, you need to make sure that even if something goes wrong, it will not affect the shelter that you have.

Open area

Manage Inflammable Articles Properly

While building a fire, you have to keep any combustible item further away from the area.

It might include fuel, alcohol, fireworks, and many more. Keep them at a safe distance at all times of the process.

A Bucket of Sand or Water

It is essential to be prepared for the most uncertain thing. If the fire gets out of hand, you will need a substance to control it before it is too late.

Depending on your location of camping, keep a substance to fight the fire with.

If you have laid a camp in the forest or a hill with access to water, get a bucket of water and place it near the sight. If it is a beach location, fetch some sand from the beach and keep it handy.

First-aid Kit

Keeping a kit with essential instruments such as ointment, burn medication, bandage, gauze, and cotton is also very important.

It will ensure that in case of a mishappening, there will be immediate help without any sort of delay.

First-aid kit


Building a fire is not a difficult task, but one must always be ready. Before starting the process, make sure you have a strategy.

It might include deciding where the fire should light, what materials to include, tasks being assigned to people, and ensuring that it is carried on safely.

But, of course, you must also have solutions to any problem that might arise.

Wires, Cables and Long Trees

Make sure you look out for these. When deciding on the place, check the area properly to avoid any problem that might arise because of obstructions. 

Things you will Need to Start a Fire

The first step in building a fire is to procure all the items that will be necessary for the process.

Of course, one does not need many things to create fire, but the shortlist of things is essential.

Make sure to get through it and have all the materials with you before starting the process. 

  1. Things to light the fire: Gather dried leaves, small sticks, and a piece of wood from the surrounding. It will help with keeping the fire burning for a longer time.
  1. A lighter or a box of matches: If you have a lighter, then it’s easy to spark the first fire.
  1. Log: Log of firewood is the main ingredient onto which the fire will be light up. Make sure you have enough depending on the size of the fire and the duration.
  1. Water or Sand: To extinguish the fire flames or in case of any emergency.
  1. Big and Medium-sized rocks: It will be used to contain the circle the fire is being built on.
  1. An axe: You will need this to cut big logs of wood to suitable sizes.
  1. A shovel: You need to dig up the earth to create the pit for the fire.
  1. Flint and Steel: A flint and steel method can be used when the match sticks become wet.
  2. Tinder Nest: A nest comprises strips of fine wood and tree fibers in the middle. Light the center of the tinder nest with either spark or a match.
  3. Kindling: Kindling is small pieces of dry sticks that catch fire easily from a tinder bundle.
  4. Protective pieces of equipment: You need to keep all the gear near you and wear them at the procedure time.

Procedure to Setup a Fire

Step 1: Dug out a hole on the ground. Use the shovel and build a pit on the floor. It should be circular and wide to accommodate the logs of firewood. If you have a fire pit, you are already ahead in the game.

Step 2: Place medium-sized rocks in a circle around the pit. It will ensure the fire to be contained inside that particular space. 

Step 3: In the third step, you have to lay out all the dried sticks collected from the surroundings. This extra layer will prevent the firewoods from being burnt into ashes and cause a heap. This base will also catch fire easily because of its dry nature. 

Step 4: Add a layer of the dried leaves that have been accumulated. Another such layer will add to the strength of the fire.

Step 5: This step is the crucial one. You need to find dry leaves or a twig and set fire to it with a matchstick or a lighter. Place it into the pit, and the first layer will catch fire almost immediately.

Step 6: Now it is time for the logs to be placed. Cut the pieces of firewood and place them surrounding the circle of the fire. Make sure that the arrangement lets oxygen enter the inner circle. If the oxygen is restricted, the logs will not catch fire, and you might have to redo this process. It will take some time for the logs of wood to catch fire. Observe properly for sparks and other such things. 

Step 7: Once your fire is lit, you have to give some time to it for observation before letting your children and pets in.

You can also use other methods to start a fire such as:

1. Friction: One of the most common ways to ignite the fire is Friction. To generate friction, you need to rub a piece of wood together using a bow or hand drill.

2. Sparks: Using materials like rocks, flint, and a battery with wool is a standard way to create sparks that will start a fire.

Things to keep in Mind while Starting a Fire

Building a fire is a dangerous procedure, but a needful one at the time of emergency.

However, there are certain things that you should additionally keep in mind apart from all the safety procedures as below.

  1. If you have children and pets with you, it is the safest thing to keep them away during the building of the fire. They should stay inside the tent or any other form of accommodation and share the space only after the fire is lit. 
  1. You can burn a lot of things, including dry grass or leaves and paper. But make sure not to use any material that is made of plastic. Fire and plastic in an open fire can prove to be extremely dangerous for everyone near it. Buring of plastic also releases harmful toxins into the air and can make old or immuno-compromised people ill. 
  1. Make sure not to leave the fire unattended at any time. The fire must be under the supervision of at least one adult at all times. It will ensure that nothing unwarranted takes place. 
  1. Although you might plan a fireworks session on your campfire trip, make sure no firework lands up in the fire. Such an incident can have fatal repercussions. If you do plan on bursting firecrackers, make sure to do it away from the fire.


Now that you have all the information that you will be needing to build a fire, we hope you find it to be an easy task to do.

Remember, building a fire or being near the fire is not funny and quiet; on the contrary, it is dangerous.

You should always be careful around it and keep a check on things from time to time.

Do you know any other method to start a fire? Tell us in the comment section below.

Article by:

Eric Birch

Eric Birch is a survival specialist trained in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program. When he’s not ferociously learning new survival tactics, he enjoys the great outdoors, and/or cheering on one of his favorite sports teams.

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