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BEACH BONFIRE 101

BEACH BONFIRE 101

There’s something magical about watching the sunset by the flickering warmth of a beach bonfire, backed by the sound of crashing waves. But it’s important to consider the environment, every time you build a fire. 

HOW TO BUILD A BEACH BONFIRE

1. Choose your Site

Don’t forget to check...

Council’s rules and bylaws

https://www.firepermit.nz/ACA/Cap/CapEdit.aspx?Module=Permits&stepNumber=2&pageNumber=1&isFeeEstimator=&TabName=Permits

No matter what the fire season is, you always need to comply with any council bylaws and regional council rules relating to smoke and air pollution, even with a fire permit. First, look into whether the beach you’re on allows campfires. Ask a lifeguard or check local signage or the park website to see if there are fire bans or rules against campfires.

Make sure to also select a place that is far from potential fire hazards like brush or trees.

2. Prepare the Bonfire

Dig several inches of sand out of the middle of a three-foot area. This will place your fire pit lower than the rest of the beach so the bottom sand will be wet, reducing your likelihood of spreading the fire. The elevation difference will also protect your flames from the wind. If you spot some larger rocks you can build a fire ring to add additional wind blockage. (But remember, the more things you move or disrupt to build your fire, the more clean-up you’ll have to do after.) 

3. Collect the Wood

Collecting firewood can be tricky on a beach. Collect a pile of smaller sticks (or bring kindling) and larger wood from the ground to sustain your fire.

Do not remove branches from living trees. This can harm the tree, plus live branches are more difficult to burn and often create excess smoke. Collect wood of various sizes as well as dry leaves, pine needles and bark from fallen trees to serve as tinder to start the fire.

4. Build

Many people build small cone-like structures before lighting a fire. While this works, a teepee style creation is often a better solution at the beach as it stands up better to the wind.

Start by lying down a small nest of fire starting materials like small twigs, grass or dry seaweed. Then, place two pieces of smaller driftwood or sticks parallel to one another with your tinder in the middle. Next, place two pieces of similar-size wood on top of the gaps between the first sticks to create a square. Repeat this process until you have a robust structure.

5. Light your Fire

Use a lighter or a match to start your beach fire. Once the tinder has burned and the larger logs are on fire you can add bigger pieces of wood to increase the size and warmth of your fire. Just make sure to follow any fire size regulations that are in place in the area.

A beach bonfire isn’t complete without s’mores, so smack sure to pack some biscuits, marshmallows and chocolate in your beach bag! 

When the night is over…..make sure to douse the fire thoroughly with water and bury any remaining embers to prevent your fire from spreading when you’re done. Return any rocks to their original location once they’ve cooled, fill in the dug out hole with sand, and pick up any pieces of trash that you may have dropped while enjoying snacks and drinks around your bon fire.

Congratulations — you’ve successfully hosted a responsible beach bonfire!