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How to Make a Campfire 101


Where do I find the wood?

The ONLY place to get wood for your fire is the Camp Store at Lehigh Gorge ($5/Milk Crate Full). We do not allow external wood to be brought to the campground due to the spread of invasive species such as the Emerald Ash Borer Tick.

Many of our guests reside in states that harbor this invasive species (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Conneticut, Massachutes, Delaware and more) and traveling with any type of firewood over state boarders is FEDERALLY ILLEGAL due to the federal quarantine on firewood from outside Pennsylvania.

Firewood is defined as “wood that has been cut, sawn, or chopped into a shape and size commonly used for fuel, or other wood intended for fuel” (7 CFR § 301.92, 2010).

For more information, visit:

Where do I make my fire?

Lehigh Gorge provides a designated camp fire ring for each campsite. We do require that all fires be made and mainted within the fire ring.

Cone: Start with a small cone of kindling around a few handfuls of tinder that are loosely piled in the center of the fire ring. Once the fire is going strong and the temperature increases, you can add larger logs a few at a time as needed.

Log cabin: Place two larger pieces of firewood parrallel to each other and with some room in between to form the base of your structure. Then, turn 90 degrees and place two slightly smaller pieces on top and perpendicular to form a square. Place plenty of tinder inside the square. Continue adding a few more layers of firewood around the perimeter, getting a little bit smaller with each layer. Finish with a layer of kindling and tinder across the top. Remember to leave space between logs so the fire can get plenty of oxygen.

Upside down (pyramid): Start with three or four of your largest logs side-by-side on the bottom layer. Turn 90 degrees and then add a second layer of slightly smaller logs on top. Continue alternating a few more layers in this manner, getting smaller as you go. Place your kindling and tinder on top.

Light the Fire At the campstore, we sell a variety of firestarters. Using a firestarter is your best chance at only starting it once. After lighting the tinder, blow lightly at the base of the fire to provide oxygen, which will help increase the intensity of the flame and further ignite the wood.As the fire burns, move embers to the center to burn them completely. Ideally, you should reduce them to white ash.

Extinguish the Fire

Generally, though, you should extinguish your fire by pouring water on it (be careful not to stand where the steam can scald you), stirring the ashes, then applying more water. Repeat as often as needed. Ashes should be cool to the touch before you leave the site. Be utterly certain a fire and its embers are out and cold before you depart.

DO NOT USE DIRT TO SMOTHER YOUR FIRE!!!! The practice of using dirt or sand to extinguish a fire is problematic because it can insulate coals, which can become uncovered later, igniting a wildfire.

Never leave a campfire unattended!

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