Lean To Fire

By: Saffron Hodgson | March 18, 2017

A Lean To Fire structure gets its name from the core concept in building the fire, and that is multiple sticks leaning onto something, often a larger foundation log, but sometimes a medium sized stick on an angle. In both cases the cave like space that is created is used to place tinder and kindling which is lit the catches the larger fire alight.

Lean to fires make a great started fire and can be used as the foundation in many other cooking fires, or simply be used on its own to cook simple meals.

How to Build a Lean To Fire

1/ Assess the location. This fire requires a flat surface, preferably in a low wind area, or with a wind break. As always consider the surroundings for fire hazards, wind direction and similar.

2/ Create the Base. There are two ways that the fire can be orientated. In high wind areas use a big thick log placed on the up-wind side, this acts as a wind block to the fire that sits sheltered in the downwind side. Alternatively, if building a fire without a big log the opening of the ‘cave’ can face into the wind so when lit burns into the rest of the wood.

3/ Lay the Fire. Start by placing the large log or angled stick that the rest of the fire will lean against. In the sheltered area lay the tinder, then some kindling. Start to create runs of kindling and small twigs leaning against the log. On top of this you can add larger pieces of wood but being sure to allow enough air to let the fire burn. The fire can be boxed in by using two larger size sticks at either end of the lay.

4/ Light the fire. Light the fire at the entrance to the cave like area. Once the tinder has caught then the rest of the fire will light from this.

5/ Maintaining the fire. The fire is continually maintained with the new pieces of wood being added to the fire. This can be done by adding wood that leans against the original large log, allowing the fire to always have good air and burn well.

6/ Extinguishing the fire. This fire can be left to burn down then the remaining coals can be cooled. Do not leave until it is fully extinguished and cool to the touch otherwise it can re-ignite.

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