Fire up the s'mores safely with a cozy campfire.

August 30, 2017

Nothing sounds cozier than building a campfire. But making a good one—safely—takes skills. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to rub sticks together. Just watch this video to learn how you can build your best campfire ever. We’re serving up all the outdoorsy knowledge you need to make it look like you’re a seasoned camper–and to keep flames contained too. Happy camping!

RELATED: Gear Up for the Great Outdoors

Location matters: News flash: You can’t just start a fire anywhere you please. You need to pick the right place to get things going. Find a spot that doesn’t have loose grass or debris within 10 feet, since they can catch on fire once the flames grow strong. Avoid areas that have tree roots and make sure three times the height of the fire is clear overhead. Low-hanging branches aren’t welcome above the heat.

Build the right type of fire: How you make your campfire depends on what you’re using it for. If you’re making a fire for cooking, place two ankle-thick pieces of dead, dry wood in a V-shape, then put tinder (like moss or newspaper) in the middle of the V. Build a small teepee around the tinder using twigs or small pieces of bark. Next, light the fire and slowly add dry logs about the width of your arm. If you want the fire to burn longer, angle larger logs toward the flames. Be sure to add only one log at a time to keep the flames under control.

Keep your site secure: Keep a bucket of water or sand on hand to extinguish the fire when you’re ready to put it out. Once the flames are extinguished, stir ashes using a metal tool. Continue this two-step process until the ashes are cold and smothered, or soaked entirely.