Building a Beautiful Fire
For our next fireside gathering, we're considering how the fire looks before it's lit. Our stylists recently tried out three ways to start a campfire that are equal parts pretty and practical. Beginning with a few birch logs, we picked some dry twigs, moss, and leaves for natural kindling. Read on to learn how to make each style, and why it starts a great fire.
Star: A traditional layout that quickly leads to a crackling fire, the star arrangement starts by arranging logs like the spokes of a wheel, placing them flat and leaving a space in the center. Then, simply fill the center circle with tinder and kindling. Since there's no stacking, the star is a great pick for occasions when you have logs of different lengths; as the fire burns, push the logs toward the center to maintain the blaze.
Bundle: Based on a Swedish style of fire-building that uses a log split into wedges, this upright option makes for a pretty display before the fire is lit. Starting with your shortest pieces in the center, create a vertical bundle of wood and twigs, then wrap it with a flammable vine or twine (we tucked some moss in as well). In the shallow bowl that forms at the top of the bundle, place your kindling and tinder, then light as usual. This unusual design allows for a lengthy burn time as the fire descends.
Inverse: Traditional wisdom dictates that a fire should be started with a layer of kindling at the bottom, followed by twigs and then logs. The inverse fire turns this idea on its head-- literally-- by placing kindling and twigs atop a crosshatched pile of logs, arranging the materials from largest to smallest. When the kindling is lit, sparks and embers will fall down into the wood to ignite the rest of the fire.
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