Meticulously clear the area around your fire site of combustibles or anything that could potentially catch fire, explode or melt. The immediate space under and around the fire should be bare earth. This is critical.
Surround your fire site with something inflammable. Stones work best and can be stacked to serve as a reflector to concentrate the available heat. Note that sandstone contains microscopic quantities of trapped water and can explode fairly vigorously when heated sufficiently.
Be mindful of overhead vegetation. In the winter, some trees can retain enough dry leaves to become aboveground fire hazards. Keep track of any hanging branches that could dip into the fire, and remove any as necessary.
Mind the wind. A strong wind can carry your fire beyond its intended boundaries if not carefully managed.
Keep something handy to extinguish the fire completely when the time comes. If you use coals to start the fire, use available water or sand to smother the coals after you’re done with the fire to prevent the fire from returning.
Spread the coals out and ensure the fire is completely extinguished before moving on. Many forest fires have sprung to life from abandoned campfires that were inadequately doused. Check and double-check your makeshift fire pit to avoid this deadly mistake and preserve the surrounding habitat.
In a survival situation, fire can mean the difference between life and death. Fire can help you dry your clothes, stay warm during cold nights, cook food and sanitize drinking water. But if you’re stranded in a forest-like environment, there are some precautions to take before you start to build a fire, lest the fire spreads and starts destroying the woods around you. Here are six proven methods to contain your backwoods bonfire and ensure it doesn’t spread.
This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Subscription is available in print and digital subscriptions here.
This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here.
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