Campfire is an essential part of camping. You’ve got to make a fire in the camp and you do this for various reasons. Having hiked for a long while all you may want to do is sit around a roaring fire to relax your body. And if you’ve got a partner with you, it’s a good way to cool down and gist. Apart from this, you can quickly make some good food with the fire and have a nice dinner and even with your friends.
As a camper myself I can attest to the fact that sometimes the heat emitted from a campfire can be a lifesaver on a very cold night and don't need use your tent heater, but the question remains this: how hot is a campfire? Or how hot should a campfire get? You may be wondering why the question is quite important. Because of so many stories about campfire razing an entire forest, campfire burning a tent, the question about campfire began to stir my mind and then I started to research, even though I have been camping for a very long while. I feel what I discovered after ample of research is worth sharing with fellow campers.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll point out the maximum temperature expected of a campfire, the average temperature expected and the reasons why it is important to keep this temperature in mind.
The highest temperature of a campfire is approximately 2,012 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 degrees Celsius). The average temperature is about 930 degrees Fahrenheit (498.9 degrees Celsius). The reason for having this average is that campfire varies, mostly according to the materials used to make the fire. (How hot a campfire is according to the materials will be discussed later in this article)
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE TEMPERATURE OF A CAMPFIRE:
The main reason why you should know the temperature of a campfire is to be equipped with the right knowledge of the materials you can use around the fire. For instance, the melting point of Aluminum is 1,221 degrees Fahrenheit; if Aluminum is brought near a campfire (2,012 degrees Fahrenheit), what do you expect? The aluminum will melt. Likewise, materials like copper, silver, bronze which are within the range of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit can be melted; even disposable materials like paper, nylon can be burned obviously.
You can see that any carelessness or ignorance about the temperature of a campfire can be devastating. It could lead to a huge forest inferno. I’m sure you don’t want to imagine the losses that it could cause. Read on Campfire Defender to see how dangerous campfire could be.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR CAMPFIRE
Amount of oxygen flow
The most versatile property of oxygen is the fact that it supports combustion process. When most organic compounds is compressed and are burnt in oxygen, the result is fire. In the case of a campfire the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere plays a great role in the temperature that the campfire will reach. By bellowing the fire you are increasing the abundance of oxygen that goes into it and thereby increase the temperature of the fire. The campfire will burn at a very faster rate. However, you have to be careful when lighting a fire in the presence of strong wind. The wind can turn a little tiny flame into an explosive fire and this could be a very catastrophe. Read Hunker to see what oxygen does to fire.
Type of wood used for making the fire
Another factor that determines how hot a campfire could get is the type of wood which you use when making the fire. As campers we get the wood we use for making fire from different species of trees based on preferences or the availability of the wood. But the three common kinds of wood are Tinder, Kindling and fuel woods.
These are tiny pieces of flammable materials which could be shreds of woods or even papers. These materials catch fire very fast as they are easy to ignite. They are mostly used for starting a fire but this tinder burns at very low temperature.
These are also flammable materials which are somewhat bigger than tinder. They are like the second-stage materials when making fire. You use the tinder to ignite the fire, and kindling to sustain the fire. The examples of kindling are little sticks, twigs and this type burns at a temperature a little higher than that of tinder.
This is like the third-stage process. Having ignited the fire using tinder, keep the fire burning using kindling, the fire will die if there’s no source of fuel. This is when fuelwood becomes necessary. Although fuel woods catch the fire slowly, they are the main fuel for a campfire. They can be as small as three inches in length but for the long sustenance of the fire, you can use large logs. These fuel woods are sometimes referred to as timbers and of all the three types of wood, they burn at the highest temperature. For more information on type of camping firewood read Trails
Wood Species used for making your campfire
If you want a moderate heat—that is, wood that burns slowly and steadily to release enough heat to keep you warm, cedar tree is a fine one. You can sleep well on a cold night while cedarwood burns. Also, the aroma of this cedar wood when burning is quite appealing. It’s like you are savoring some flavor while having a good night rest. I personally really like to use this wood species as it prevents the winter cold from getting deep into me. And also, of course, that cedarwood scent.
If there’s any wood that seems to be perfectly created for the purpose of camping, it is oak wood. And you know what? It is readily available. Almost at any campsite, you find an oak wood. If you are able to get some dry logs, you can chop it into smaller sizes for good ignition. Oak wood burns slowly and steadily and still generate enough heat to keep you warm.
This wood is good because of its ability to burn even when it is still very alive. Ashwood contains little moisture, so while ash tree still sprouts green leaves, you can chop it and it will burn and produce the amount of heat you need. If you want to make a campfire for cooking, ash wood is good. It releases little smoke which means your eyes cannot be teary and your cooking utensils is devoid of blackness.
Most of the trees mentioned here produce moderate heat to keep you warm. But if you need a wood species that produces more heat than any of the above, perhaps because you want to roast a bushmeat you just hunted, hickory wood is good. It makes cooking very easy and fast even while it may also keep you warm.
Flame color of your campfire
Unless you have an instrument for measuring temperatures like thermometer or thermocouple, you cannot actually tell the temperature of an object, including fire. But nevertheless, there is a means or technique you can employ to know the temperature of fire in the absence of a measuring instrument. And this is by observing the color of the fire. This method can also be extended to a campfire. I’ll show you show how you can determine the temperature of your campfire by looking at the color.
If the flame of the campfire reveals deep red color, this signifies that the temperature of that flame is around 1,110 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, if the flame color is between orange and yellow, the temperature is probably around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In a case where the color of the flame is showing blue, this blue is the hottest or core part of the campfire and it’s about 2,730 degrees Fahrenheit.
Read more on flame color and fire temperature on MaggiemaggioAlthough this technique is not always reliable, it nevertheless gives some predictions that can help you determine how hot your campfire is.
I have outlined above the several factors that determine how hot a campfire could get based on the different materials from which the fire is made. So you can now literally answer the question by yourself.
How hot is a campfire? The heat emitted from a campfire is dependent on the types of wood and amount of oxygen fed into the fire. But if, on the other hand, you want to know how hot should your campfire get? This question can only be answered by you. The heat you need from your campfire depends on the purpose which you want the fire to serve.
For whatever reason you want to make a campfire, you should never let the temperature exceed 2150 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to avoid the catastrophe effect of an explosion caused by a campfire. Also, you should please endeavor to take the necessary precautions or safety measures to prevent fire outbreak.Feel free to contribute your opinions in the comment section below. Cheers!