While setting up the fire is a very important part of the camping experience, very few people think about the temperature of the fire that they have made.
Knowing how to judge the amount of heat created by your campfire makes it easier to prepare various types of meals and helps you to avoid accidentally melting your cutlery!
So how hot can a campfire get? And what else should you know about campfires before you make one yourself?
All of this and more will be answered in this article, so read on to learn all about campfires!
How Hot Is The Fire?
When a medium-sized campfire is properly piled and maintained, the inside temperature will average roughly 900°F (482°C).
However, this is not a general rule that can be applied to all circumstances.
The type of fuel utilized, the amount of oxygen moving through it, and, of course, the size of the fire may all influence the temperature of a campfire.
Depending on the size of the fire, temperatures can reach above 2,000°F (1,093°C), which is incredibly hot.
There are two temperatures of a fire. They are:
- Cooking Temperature - Over the flames (known as the thermal plume zone) where there are no visible flames, you may expect temperatures of 600°F (320°C).
Here is where your meals will be prepared. The temperature drops as the distance from the flames increases.
- Internal Temperature - A campfire's flames, also known as the continuous flame region, may reach temperatures of up to 1,650°F (900°C) inside.
Large campfires (such as a bonfire) may achieve temperatures above 2,100°F (1,100°C).
How Do I Tell How Hot The Fire Is?
Rather than trying to hold your hand near the fire to work out the temperature, there is a much safer method that you can use.
The flame colors tell you all that you need to know about the temperature of the fire.
Having many colors in your campfire indicates that the temperature across the fire is fluctuating, which is a bad sign.
Different colors of flame represent a distinct temperature in terms of the intensity of the fire, so having a mixture of colors means that the fire is unstable.
White flames are more visible in the region closest to the wood.
The fact that it is the most directly connected to the fuel source means that it is typically, but not always, the hottest part of the fire.
The greater the distance between your fuel, the cooler the fire will be.
You may sometimes get a glimpse of a blue/white flame streaking through the fire.
It is believed that the addition of the blue tint shows that the flame is much hotter than it would have been if it had merely been white in appearance.
Blue flames are more likely to erupt when the temperature reaches between 2,600°F and 3,000°F (1,427°C and 1,649°C).
Because it receives the most amount of oxygen of any of the flame colors, it burns at the highest temperature of all.
Dark Red Flames
This is one of the most prominent colors you will see in the flames of a campfire, and it is a deep red.
Deep red fires with temperatures ranging from 1,100°F to 1,650°F (593°C to 899°C) are likely to be caused by a combination of factors such as what fuel has been used.
If the flames are yellow/orange it indicates that the fire is burning between 1,800°F and 2,500°F (982°C and 1,371°C).
What Can Affect Temperature?
The temperature of the fire will be influenced by many factors. These are the main ones.
It is not surprising that various types of wood and fuel burn differently. The following types of fuel are suggested for the building of campfires:
- Oak - Oak is a slow-burning hardwood that generates a large volume of heat with few sparks.
- Hickory - This is a dense wood that does not retain a great deal of moisture. It may be tough to cut and burns with considerable intensity. It's perfect for smoking and grilling meat and fish.
- Cedar - Although it may not generate flames as large as some of the other woods on this list, cedar delivers a powerful punch in terms of heat. It is ideal for keeping your camping site warm and cozy.
- Ash - This is an excellent, light, and plentiful firewood that may be found in several settings. It is quickly combustible and creates minimal smoke. Moreover, ash holds little moisture and separates with little effort.
The dryness of the fuel also impacts the intensity of the fire. Wet wood burns far more poorly than dry wood, resulting in worse and colder temperatures.
Place moist wood around the perimeter of the fire if you have some. Once the fire is built, the heat will cause the wood to dry out.
Remember the significance of kindling and tinder as well. You'll need both to start your fire and give a sturdy foundation for the larger logs you'll add later.
Good flames require a constant supply of oxygen to burn. A metal fire pit will produce less heat than an open fire helped by a mild breeze.
However, you should never attempt to light a campfire while the wind is strong since you might endanger yourself and the environment.
To ensure that your fire has a consistent supply of oxygen, construct a teepee with the kindling and tinder.
After creating this structure, the second layer of smaller firewood should be added in the same manner.
As the fire grows, additional wood can be added to the teepee's structure. This will let air into the fire, fueling the flames and keeping the fire hot.
Campfires can burn at extremely hot temperatures, making them quite dangerous if you get too near them.
If built correctly though, you should have a nice, safe campfire for you and your friends to gather around after a long day.