Campfire picture

Campfire picture

I was just reading an article from the Trailer Life magazine written by the editor. It was titled “The 12 Gifts of RVing”. He made a list of the things that he thought of RVing. One of those things on the list was a campfire. He said that his young son told him that camping wasn’t camping useless there was a campfire involved. I would have to agree that the campfire is the epitome of camping.

As I thought about the campfire, my thoughts took me back to early man and his discovery of fire. I say discovery of fire because as we all know man didn’t invent fire. At some point in the history of man, man found fire in its natural environment and was able to put it to use. Fire became man’s companion and at some point in history he was able to make fire artificially. Because of the crude methods, before matches, that it took to start a fire, once the fire was going it was easier to keep it going than to have to start all over. Fires needed watching, not only to keep them from going out, but from spreading, or theft, so a fire-keeper was delegated to the work, thus starting a social organization. The early fires also formed a nucleus for human grouping, and became tribal or communal fires, from which the individual family fires derived.

The early fires were not campfires in the sense that we know of them today. The early family and communal fires were a necessary part of man’s existence for them to have warmth and to be able to cook their meals. Today if we make a campfire, it is because we want to and not necessarily because we have to. Of course, if you are backpacking in the wilderness, you would say that a campfire was necessary to keep you warm and to possibly heat up a can of beans.

Roasting Marshmallows

Roasting Marshmallows

For the most part, a campfire today is used as a place to gather while the kids set their marshmallows on fire, then put them between two pieces of graham crackers with a slab of chocolate bar. Also, the campfire is very intriguing to kids. It attracts them like a June Bug to a light. Show me a kid who doesn’t like to find small sticks and leaves to throw into the fire and I’ll show you a kid who doesn’t like to camp. Of course we know how dangerous fire can be, so we must use extreme caution and teach children to respect the power of fire.

Campfires are a part of camping but we must be responsible campers when using a campfire and make sure that all safety precautions are used. I found and interesting website that will tell you more than you probably want to know about campfires. One point that he makes on his site is that a campfire must be put out with water and not dirt. A fire covered with dirt will smolder and can flame up with the wind. Happy campfires!



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