Safe Ways to Build a Bonfire

Whether your favorite season is summer because of those long days at the beach or are the kind that lives for the ski slopes when the thermometers plummet in winter, who doesn’t love the transition seasons, spring and fall? It’s hard to find fault with warm spring days when everything is coming back to life. Birds are singing again and pretty much everything starts blossoming and blooming. But, as wonderful as all of that, is there really anything better than the first nip in the air that signals that fall is here? The sweltering heat of summer is past and it’s time for gorgeous color changes, long walks, football rivalries and, maybe best of all, those autumn bonfires!  

Most of us have fond memories of backyard bonfires when we were growing up. Some were for the purpose of burning mountains of leaves that had been raked. Others were built for “wienie roasts” and attended by the entire neighborhood. Everyone had their own special method for toasting the perfect marshmallow and the art and intricacy of building s’mores could rival many of today’s cooking shows.

Those childhood bonfires were especially fun because they were so carefree and easy. That’s because there were adults present who were responsible for building and monitoring the fire so that no one got hurt and surrounding property was protected. Now that we are the adults, it is important to know just what all is necessary to insure a safe, fun experience for everyone. That means learning safe ways to build a bonfire.

Steps to Follow for a Safe Bonfire

  • Research legal issues pertaining to your area, including dates, times, locations, etc.
  • Obtain permit if one is necessary
  • Check with local fire department for safety requirements and recommendations
  • Find a clear spot, far away from fences, buildings, trees, roots and plants and sheltered from wind
  • Gather necessary components:
    • Bricks or stones
    • Tinder material, like twigs, pine needles, bark, newspaper, etc.
    • Kindling, small to medium sticks
    • Logs, dry hardwood is best
  • Use bricks or stone to create a circle
  • Place the tinder in the center of the circle, surrounded by the kindling stacked in a teepee shape
  • Arrange logs parallel to each other on two sides of the kindling teepee
  • Repeat for several layers, not more than 5, arranging logs perpendicular to previous layer
  • Drop match into the center so that it ignites the tinder material
  • Watch for sparks and flying embers. Be sure to have a source of water nearby, just in case.

Now, the only thing is left is the search for the perfect stick to roast that wienie and toast those marshmallows! That, of course, and to remember to make sure the fire is completely out before going in for the night.

When the word “Bonfire” is spoken, the hit song by Childish Gambino comes to mind. Here it is in all its glory!