How to Make a Fire Pit

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When building a fire pit, it's important to use igneous rocks as opposed to river rocks because river rocks have a tendency to carry water. Learn about avoiding forest fires by clearing organic debris from a fire pit area with help from a recreational kayaking instructor and outdoor adventurer in this free video on fire pits.

Part of the Video Series: Camping & Backpacking
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Video Transcript

When considering where and how to build a fire pit often times that decision is made for you. Because you have simply pulled up to an established camping area, and somebody has already chosen the location. If that is the case just build your fire in the existing pit. If you have not found a place that has an existing fire pit you might have to construct one. There's several important concerns. One of the major concerns is obviously going to be forest fire or the spreading of fire. So one of the things that you need to do is you need to remove the forest duff off of the ground. And that would be the layer of organic debris that is on the ground from rotting leaves, and rotting needles. So you would remove that in a wide area, big circle around what is going to be your fire pit. Making sure that there is nothing over head that is going to catch on fire or fall down later. Once you have cleared that area, and you have gotten down to mineral earth then it would be okay to dig a fire pit down into that mineral earth. So all the duff has been removed, you are digging a small pit down into the mineral earth, then you are going to line that area with rocks. One very important concern here is that you don't use river rocks. River rocks often times have water trapped inside the rock, and as they heat up that rock, that water will expand, and it could cause the rock to explode. So what you want to do is you want to choose you know a good igneous type rock. In this case this is trap rock, and it is lined the outside of the fire pit. We have put some rocks down in the bottom, and then we have taken some sand, and lined the inside of the fire pit with sand. And this way we are all set. There is not going to be any danger of this fire catching the organic debris and starting a fire, forest fire in this case. Or burning underground, and smoldering in through that organic duff for quite a period of time, and starting what we could call an underground fire that could pop out later. Once you have got your rocks all kind of lined up, figure out what you are going to be cooking on. In this case we have got an easy to place cooking grill. You are all set ready for hours of sitting back, and enjoying your campfire.

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