News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on June 13, 2022


Transylvania County is home to some of the best camping in the country.  National Camping Month in June is an excellent time to pack up your gear and experience nature.

Before starting your campfire, take a look around your campsite to make sure your tent, gear, and any other flammable objects are at least 15 feet away and upwind of the fire pit.

  • Buying or using local kindling/wood = Kindling and wood should be bought near the campground (or collected from the area, if the rules permit doing that - keep in mind, this is not allowed in many national parks). Bringing wood from far away might also bring along pests that will flee your burning wood and potentially invade and cause problems in their new environment.
  • Constructing your fire = There are many ways to arrange your firewood before you start burning.  Fire needs air to grow, so don’t just stack your wood in a dense pile. One way to start is by laying larger pieces of wood in a cross-hatch pattern, making a small tower. Then, place plenty of kindling (e.g. dried leaves, small twigs, etc.) and fire starter (e.g., paraffin-soaked cotton balls, shredded paper, etc.) in the gaps between the wood.  Also remember that bark doesn’t burn as well as the rest of the wood, so chopping your wood into thinner pieces, to expose more of the interior, will get your fire going faster.  Use matches or a lighter on your fire starter to ignite it; it should then catch your kindling on fire, which should eventually catch your larger pieces of wood on fire.
  • Using accelerants = An accelerant is an extremely flammable liquid or mixture, like lighter fluid, that is used to speed up starting a fire. Use only lighter fluid to start a campfire. Never use any other accelerants, like gasoline, as this can be super dangerous to you and others around you! Also, do not squirt lighter fluid onto embers or open flames, as this may lead to a quick flare up and cause skin burns. When you stop at the visitor center, check to make sure it’s ok to use chemical accelerants, like lighter fluid.
  • Keeping the fire burning = Your fire might burn quite quickly if your firewood is extremely dry. Wetter wood will burn slower, but you don’t want it too wet or it won’t catch fire. Wet wood will smoke way more than dry wood. If you have extra firewood, keep it stacked upwind of your fire, so that a sudden breeze won’t light all the rest of your wood on fire. Keep the fire small so it stays under control.

Source:  National Park Service