Winter Campfire Safety Huntington WV

If your camp stove fails or you run out of fuel in the summer, going without your morning coffee will be your biggest hardship. But with hypothermia as a constant threat to winter campers, knowing how to light a winter campfire is a must. Even though our green pages suggest leaving fallen wood where it lies, in an emergency, you can break some environmental rules without guilt.

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Winter Campfire Safety

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Winter Campfire Safety

Fire and ice

If your camp stove fails or you run out of fuel in the summer, going without your morning coffee will be your biggest hardship. But with hypothermia as a constant threat to winter campers, knowing how to light a winter campfire is a must. Even though our green pages suggest leaving fallen wood where it lies, in an emergency, you can break some environmental rules without guilt.

To keep your body fueled while you prepare the fire, make sure you bring some food that doesn't need to be heated or cooked. Granola bars or nuts are portable and will provide the energy you need, but any carbohydrate will work.

Standard campfire safety rules still apply, but you will need to pull a few tricks out of your backpack to get a fire going in the snow.

Building a Winter Campfire

Since firewood will be your biggest challenge, start by gathering fallen timber. While it's tempting to cut down branches or trees, green wood won't burn easily and your efforts will result in more environmental damage than fire. To gather as much wood as possible,

  • Look under the snow - if wood is covered in light, fluffy snow, it should be dry enough to burn.
  • Search various areas around your camp. Keep track of where you got the wood. If some pieces burn well, you can get more from that area and avoid locations that yielded unburnable wood.
  • Sort the wood from smallest to largest. This takes time initially but will help keep the fire going in the long run.
  • Gather pine needles, pine cones and fallen bark to act as kindling.

If you can use an existing fire ring, the work will be easier. If there's no ring, create your own pit:

  • Dig down to solid ground. If the snow is too deep, stomp the snow down to form a solid base. Layer the base with wood. You don't want the fire melting the snow and extinguishing itself.
  • Stove fuel can help. Just be sure to put it on the wood before you light the fire, not afterward.
  • Flint, paper, lint from pock...

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