Starting Fire

The Complete Guide to Fire

From the dawn of history to dusk last night, fire is mankind’s oldest and most useful tool. Learn how to harness its strength to cook, survive, and connect to a primal force as old and powerful as time itself.

Chapter 1. Siting
Determine if conditions are right, then pick the safest spot for a no-impact fire.

The History of Fire
Location, Location, Location
Should I Have a Fire Tonight?

Chapter 2. Fuel
All woods burn with different intensity. Maximize your firewood collecting.

Pick up Sticks
Confessions of a Backcountry Pyro
Tinder Finder
5 Rules for Foraging Firewood

Chapter 3. Architecture
Adapt your fire lay to available materials and conditions.

3 Techniques for Building a Fire Ring
The Best Fire Story Ever Told
3 Rules for Healthy Fires
What Kids Can Teach You About Enjoying a Campfire

Chapter 4. Lighting
One match. Every time.

Make a Fire starter Bouquet

The Essential Burn

Chapter 5. Feeding

Add sticks to the flame to boost heat output, create cooking coals, and more.
The Good Kind of Hot Spot
How to Tell a Good Campfire Story

6. Uses
43 things you can do with fire.

7. Extinguishing
The most important step: Putting out your fire and restoring the landscape so it looks like you were never here.
Burn Out, Then Fade Away
First Aid for Burns
Never Pee on a Fire

Additional reporting by Ian Bagley, Katie Campisi, Loren Mooney, and Kerry Wolfe