Tips For Early Spring Bonfires

Mar. 11, 2011

Cold weather may still linger in early March, but I can think of no better activity than a bonfire to finally enjoy some fresh air and get a jump on that spring cleanup! Its even enjoyable on those brisk 30 degree days, when a nice big fire can generate some heat.

There are some things to keep in mind while you’re burning, some in partial jest, but I’ll tell you from experience, its no laughing matter…

1. Dont wear fleece! Though you may be used to cozying up for the cold in the warmest material one earth, dont wear your favorite fleece gear to a bonfire. Fleece may be warm but its definitely not flame retardant and its almost horrifying when your clothes practically melt in an instant.

2. Ladies, Wear Mascara! This is not an attempt at vanity, but to ensure protection… In the process of building my fires, I’ve singed my eyelashes TWICE this year already. If you like long luxurious eyelashes, take my word for it and slap on some mascara before you head out. Eyelashes take forEVER to grow back.

firepit-for-bonfire3. Since its so early in the season, unless you’ve tarped your wood last fall, most everything out there will be a variation of wet, to waterlogged. Scavenge to find the driest dead wood, twigs and sticks to get your fire started.

4. Kerosene, not gasoline. I sincerely do not like using any type of chemicals on a fire, but since its most likely to be pretty wet out there, it may be necessary to aid your fire starting efforts with a little kerosene. Kerosene burns longer than gasoline. Take caution as with any flammable liquid.

5. Get your fire good and hot with the dry stuff. When you have a lot of burning embers, you can then get away with burning wetter and fresher wood. If the fire is hot enough, it will dry the wood and eventually burn it. Hear it sizzle!

6. Wear Gloves! Heavy duty work gloves can really save you from the burn factor. Makes it easier to stick your hands right in there and move things around for better flameage.

7. Put it out right. Since its too early to drag out the hoses, we’ll let the fire burn itself out, so give yourself enough time. Wind down your fire by removing unburned wood and raking the coals to create an even surface. Structure the remaining wood back on top of the embers and watch the fire burn down to nothing. If you’ve built a safe fire pit, dug deeply and enclosed it in stones or fire bricks,let the embers burn themselves into a fine ash. If its windy, wait until its completely burnt out, or rake the embers into a small pile and cover them with the top of a large barbeque pit. MAKE SURE to check your city’s regulations on putting out your fire and general fire safety.

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