The basic principles behind how to build a campfire at higher altitudes are the same as building a campfire at sea level. Be sure to check with the parks and recreation department before starting a high altitude fire. High altitude fires are often banned because of the lack of burnable wood. If you are camping in an area that allows you to build a fire here is how to build a campfire at higher elevations.
- campfire ring or safe area for fire
- twigs and dried leaves
- Find a safe place for the fire If your campsite offers a fire ring be sure to use only this area for your fire. A fire ring offers protection to both you and the trees surrounding you. If there is no fire ring look for a flat area that is away from any dry trees or shrubs. Clean this campfire area of any rocks or debris.
- Gather some wood and dried materials Look around the campsite for branches that have fallen off of a tree. Never just cut a branch from a tree. It can damage the tree and it is too moist to burn. After you have enough large pieces of wood for the fire, gather up dried leaves and small twigs and sticks. The leaves and twigs will serve as the fire starter when you build a campfire at higher altitudes.
- Make a wood teepee Place your dried leaves and twigs in the center of your fire pit. Then take about 6 of your larger branches and stack these up so that the tops are touching and the bottoms are balancing your structure. It will look like a teepee.
- Light your fire When you are learning how to build a campfire at higher altitudes it is good to have a lighter with you. Matches can get wet and become useless. Use the lighter to ignite the leaves and twigs. These should begin to burn and eventually catch the larger wood on fire.
- Tend your fire The teepee will eventually start to burn and fall over. When you build a campfire at higher altitudes you must keep adding wood to keep the fire going. Once the original wood is burning red hot slowly add more died fire wood to make it larger.
This is all it takes to build a campfire at higher altitudes. If you are planning to cook on the campfire it will take longer for your food to cook. Even though the campfire burns at about the same rate your water will boil slower at higher altitudes. Always extinguish your campfire completely before going to bed and when you are finished remove any unburned debris from your fire ring.