There is something so fascinating about fire. I remember as a kid sneaking matches from my parents, lighting them, and being hypotized by the flame. 

Later in life, my fascination with matches morphed into a love for bonfires. I don’t know a single person that can’t appreciate a good bonfire. It brings out the best in people. I associate bonfires with laughter, singing, guitar picking, and s’mores. For me, bonfires represent a celebration of the changing seasons; the observance of a new chapter in my life.

All that being said, bonfires can go from being a celebration to being a liability, quickly. They’re kind of like dating someone that just got out of prison – exciting but potentially dangerous.

Below, we have outlined processes and tips on how to create the perfect bonfire for a stunning autumn evening.  

Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Build a Bonfire

1. Create a circle using bricks or stones. If you want a permanent bonfire pit, dig a hole first and then create the same layout. 

2. Stand your tinder in a teepee-like shape in the center of your pit. 

3. Now, make a teepee with your kindling around the tinder. Make sure there are enough gaps for proper oxygen distribution and flow..

4. Place fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of the teepee. Repeat this process up to five times, building the teepee in higher and higher layers. 

5. Once your wood is properly set up , drop a match into the center of the teepee (or stick it into one of the gaps) to start the fire.

*Be sure to have a supply of water on hand, just in case. Put out the fire completely, before going inside for the night.

6. Grab your luke-warm Natty Ice, settle into your wobbly beach chair that probably has a rip in it,  and get your “Kum By Yah”  on!

Bonfire Safety Guidelines

Bonfires can go from being a celebration to being a liability, quickly. They’re kind of like dating someone that just got out of prison – exciting but potentially dangerous. 

Here are some tips on building a bonfire properly, so everyone can have fun and stay safe.

Check the Weather

Most people take advantage of the fall season – it’s crisp, cool, and provides beautiful aesthetics with the changes in the foliage. However, the weather can be very temperamental this time of year which means potential wind. If it’s windy, find a new way to entertain yourself. High-winds can be very dangerous.

Keep It Legal

Make sure the area where you want to build a bonfire is a legal location. Illegal campfires can result in a hefty fine. It’s best to check your state’s laws regarding outside fires before you light that sh** up! 

Stay Hydrated

It’s a good idea to have an accessible bucket of water or garden hose in the (unlikely) event that your fire begins to spread. Unregulated fires that get out of control are a massive liability. 

This Isn’t Your 7th Grade Science Class

Mixing chemicals and watching them explode is awesome…when you’re in a controlled environment like a lab. Not so awesome in your yardl.

Do not burn aerosols, canisters or anything containing foam or paint. Such chemicals have very flammable ingredients that can escalate your campfire and spread. They produce toxic fumes and the containers may explode. 

Don’t Get Your Wood Wet

Ensure the wood you are burning is dry and seasoned. Any kind of wet or damp wood will not burn well. No railroad ties, don’t use wood that has a coating, and no furniture should be thrown in the fire. Your wood pile shouldn’t be larger than 5′ x 5′, otherwise the flames may not be containable.

How To Safely Put Out a Bonfire

Once you and your “peeps” are ready to retire for the night,  turn over the charred materials with metal shovels and rakes, and douse the area with water. Make sure the fire is completely out. Not quenching the flames can result in a wildfire, putting you and your neighbors in danger. 

Easy-peasy, right?

Now that you’ve mastered how to position your wood and keep everyone safe and happy, get off the internet and enjoy this beautiful Fall season. 


  • Ashlin Hadden

    Ashlin Hadden is the owner of Ashlin Hadden Insurance and an enthusiastic executive leader offering over 16 years of experience in Insurance / Banking and Financial Services. Her passion is to understand the value of protecting your assets, the importance of serving clients, and how to recognize potential risks.

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