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Do's & Don'ts of Fire Making

Learn fire making do's and don'ts from Heather Menicucci, author of Let's Get Primitive: The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping, in this Howcast video.


When you're trying to get your fire going in the rain, you might be tempted to light it under a tarp. So you might hang your tarp and think, "Oh, I can light the fire under here." That's super-dangerous. First of all, the tarp could end up going up. And also all that smoke that the fire is letting off is going to be collected by the tarp and you're not even going to be able to stand under there. So please, don't think that if you just put up a tarp and a lean-to, you can light your fire under there. It's super-dangerous and definitely not a good idea.

Another thing to keep in mind when you're collecting your wood is to be careful of pine, and that's a tree that has pine needles on it, an evergreen tree. Because when it burns, it lets out a vapor that smells lovely, pine, but you can end up getting what's called pine cough, and it sort of burns your throat and you end up coughing all night. But if you just get a few pieces of pine, the really cool thing is that the needles can sometimes light up and shoot up into the sky above the fire, and sort of create this firework effect.

So, if you are around pine, don't build your fire exclusively using pine and don't use a lot of it. But once the fire is going, if you put in a branch with a couple of needles, you could end up with that cool effect.

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