Edit ModuleShow Tags

How to Build a Fire

Dos Picos County Park Ranger Ben Madruga explains the basics


Published:

1

Buy firewood locally from the park or preserve where you’re planning to burn it. Avoid buying wood from a grocery store—there’s no way to guarantee where it was sourced. These steps will protect the local environment from invasive species.

 

2

Look for somewhere dry, flat, and enclosed, like a metal fire ring or barbecue pit. Gather wood shavings, paper, or cotton balls soaked in Vaseline to act as tinder. Use a long barbecue lighter to protect yourself from the flames, and light the tinder within your fire ring.

 

3

Gradually increase the size of the material in the fire by moving from tinder to kindling, or pieces of wood around a half inch in diameter, and then larger as the fire grows. Be careful not to smother the fire by adding too much too quickly; the more air flow, the better.

 

4

A classic tepee wood placement encourages the larger pieces to burn as heat rises from the kindling in the middle. For a more convenient cooking experience, try the flatter crisscross pattern.

Note: Red flag warnings indicate that absolutely no fires are allowed.

 

5

Planning to cook on the fire? Build it 20 to 30 minutes ahead of time to let a layer of glowing coals form, creating a more consistent heat source.

 

6

Have a bucket of water on hand, and designate one person in your camping party to be in charge of keeping an eye on the fire at all times. Fires at San Diego County parks must be completely extinguished by 11 p.m.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More in San Diego Camping:

12 Must-Pack Items for Your Next Camping Trip

A tricked-out camper and cool blankets lend style, but don’t forget about the essentials

How to Build a Fire

Dos Picos County Park Ranger Ben Madruga explains the basics

Recipe Hacks for the Great Outdoors

Pros from Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Enoteca, and Sorella) show you how to elevate camp fare with campfire

The Campsite Reservations Nightmare

Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis masters the campsite-booking dilemma with a little help—and a little guilt

Choose Your Own Camping Adventure

Stargaze, fish, or entertain the kids in all corners of San Diego County

Go Camping in Style With This Gear

Want your camping setup to look like ours? All you need is site 64 at South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, a little sunshine, and this gear.

16 Great Places to Go Camping in Southern California and Baja

We’ve rounded up sites with the best ocean views, mountain peaks, and desert landscapes
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

16 Great Places to Go Camping in Southern California and Baja

We’ve rounded up sites with the best ocean views, mountain peaks, and desert landscapes

Go Camping in Style With This Gear

Want your camping setup to look like ours? All you need is site 64 at South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, a little sunshine, and this gear.

12 Must-Pack Items for Your Next Camping Trip

A tricked-out camper and cool blankets lend style, but don’t forget about the essentials
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  2. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  3. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
  4. First Look: Lola 55
    A top restaurant industry strategist brings a chef-driven taco shop to the East Village
  5. Sushi’s Next Gen Is Here at Himitsu
    In La Jolla, a Sushi Ota protégé sticks to an age-old tradition of quality
  6. 10 Hot Plates: San Diego's Top Food News in October
    The latest restaurant rumors, openings, and coming-soons
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags