The Importance of Fire

Fire is primal. It brings people together. It’s the heart of a camp and used to cook and purify water. Having a fire gives us a psychological boost, warmth, comfort, protection and light. Different woods have different properties, pine wood for example burns bright because of its resinous content. It can also be used for signalling, crafting tools, warding off predators and keeping mosquitos and flies away.


Don’t just light a fire for no reason. Think about why you need a fire. It’s uses and its effect.

  • Should I have a fire?
  • Is it legal?
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it appropriate?
  • Is it necessary?

Think ahead!

  • How long will I be here?
  • What does the fire need to do?
    1. Boil water?
    2. Provide heat?
    3. Signal for help?
  • Do I need to re-light it in the morning?
  • When will I leave?
    1. Hours?
    2. Days?
    3. Weeks?
  • How will I leave no trace?


Oxygen, Heat and Fuel. The three ingredients needed for a successful fire. Keep the balance of fuel, heat and oxygen equal.


  • The purpose of the fire?
  • Do you need embers or flames?
  • The size of the fuel you will be burning.
    1. Small fire?
    2. Long fire?
  • The types of wood you have available around you and what best suits your needs?
  • The lay of the fire you will use

Try to anticipate your needs before needlessly lighting a fire. Will you need wood to last the night? Will you need any wood in the morning? Are you boiling some water? Are you drying off and warming up?

And most importantly.


Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


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