A bonfire is a great opportunity to have fun with a company at camping. Usually, the campfire is represented as a controlled burning process of woody materials, such as brushwood, firewood, logs. They are always stacked in a certain way.
The physics of fire is simple: the flame is a hot gaseous medium and spreads from bottom to top. It is because the warm air becomes less dense. As it heats up, it rushes upward and carries the fire along with it. Therefore, setting off the fire starts from the bottom.
In order for combustion to begin and sustain, three elements are needed — fuel, temperature, and oxygen. Fuel in this trinity serves as a material that burns or that decomposes under the influence of high temperature, releasing flammable substances. To maintain a fire for a long time, it is usually necessary to prepare a large amount of firewood. The fuel will not burn unless it is heated to a flashpoint. Understanding the fundamentals of a campfire helps you to build it safely.
The Temperature of a Campfire
Many people want to know how hot is a campfire and what can influence the temperature. Fire is hot because thermal energy is released when chemical bonds are broken and newly formed during a combustion reaction. When burned, fuel and oxygen are converted to carbon dioxide and water. Energy is required to start a reaction, and it breaks bonds in the fuel and between oxygen atoms.
What is important, as a rule, the ignition temperature of the wood is 200-300 °C. The flame temperature depends on the material to be combusted. Various types of firewood burn differently. Several patterns determine the difference in the blast of different kinds of wood. First, it’s the presence of resins — they noticeably add to the calorific value of the wood. For instance, softwood burns more quickly due to its low density. Heavy rocks sustain combustion for a long time.
Knowing how hot does a campfire get can open you to understanding the campfire’s physics. For instance, while the density of wood varies significantly, their calorific value per unit mass is practically identical. Regardless of what types of trees were used for firewood, humidity is the principal factor affecting both the combustion and thermal effects.
Also, wood species differ in:
- the composition of resins;
- quantity of resins.
All these factors directly affect the thermal conductivity, the nature of the flame, ignition temperature, and the combustion of various materials. For example, poplar lights up with a high and very bright flame. Still, its maximum combustion temperature can be only 500 °C, which is not enough for heating. But during the combustion of such species as beech, ash, or hornbeam, a temperature of more than 1000 °C is released, which contributes to excellent heating.
Factors That Affect Fire Temperature
Several factors contribute to combustion: the type of wood used for lightning, the moisture content of the material, the volume of oxygen. These are the leading indicators that you need to pay special attention to. The efficiency of wood kindling and the campfire temperature that can arise during the combustion process depends on them.
The burning temperature of wood in the campfire depends not only on the type of materials. In general, the fire temperature can also hang on:
- time of fire development;
- fire areas;
- the amount of fire load;
- quantity of oxygen and temperature of the air.
Another critical factor affects the temperature of the fire. First, it is the size of used wood pieces. They are divided into three groups depending on the dimension: tinder — small branches, shavings or pieces of wood, kindling — large branches and pieces of timber and firewood — the biggest parts of the wood. The placement of the wood also influences the intensity and temperature of the campfire.
What Can the Color of a Fire Tell You About Its Temperature?
Knowing what color is the hottest fire can help you to determine many factors. The higher the temperature, the more the glow spectrum shifts from red to violet. Impurities of various substances in the fuel can also change the color of the flame.
So, the flame is of different colors. Just look at your campfire! Yellow, orange, red, white, and blue flames are dancing on the logs. Its color depends on the combustion temperature and on the combustible material.
The flame can also be colorless and transparent. This occurs when the fuel is completely burned with the formation of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Therefore, you can’t observe the effect of coloring the flame from these substances.
The color of a fire is a rough indication of how hot it is:
- A dark red fire has a temperature of around 600-800 °C.
- Orange-yellow — about 1100 °C.
- The white flame is even hotter, ranging from 1300-1500 °C.
Fire Safety Tips
The forest is the green garment of the earth and our most incredible wealth. The most formidable enemy of the forest has always been a fire.
Forest fires leave behind a devastated for a long time territory. And they sometimes begin due to underestimating the danger of fire and violation of the rules of conduct in the forest. A dropped cigarette butt, glassware thrown after a picnic, and an unfinished fireplace are potential conflagration sources. Currently, in most cases of wildfire, the person is to blame. But by following simple fire safety rules in woods, you can save nature and prevent a large-scale disaster.
Green tourism has become very renowned in contemporary society. But not all new tourists even know the fundamentals of fire safety in nature. Without thinking about the consequences, they lay out a fire for cooking under trees, near bushes, and do not watch over it. There are several rules for a safe campfire:
- In dry weather, light a fire only on sand or stone, along the water banks, in areas with green grass.
- Move all combustible objects away from fire more than half a meter.
- For emergency fire extinguishing, keep several containers of water nearby.
- Never start a fire near resinous trees, near hollow trees, in old fields.
- Never violate prohibitions. This applies to the fire season, those places where prohibition signs are located.
- The initial rule of going into the forest: take with you not only what you can apply to light the fire but also what you can use to extinguish it later. This doesn’t necessitate exceptional instruments — a bottle of water is enough.
- Dense grass, moss, lichen can ignite the surrounding trees. It’s better to stay away from it.
Fire is a luminous and tremendous force of nature, which has been the central element of life for numerous generations. Nowadays, for many, a bonfire is an integral component of outdoor recreation. You cannot replace it with anything, especially in winter. A bonfire gives warmth, light, and a feeling of comfort. The campfire site is the «soul» of the camp. Making a fire is a must-have skill for every tourist.
A campfire has many unique characteristics. For instance, the temperature of a campfire depends on various factors, such as the species of wood and the fire area. And the color of the flame can tell a lot about the quality and kind of wood. These fascinating facts will help many beginners and advanced camping and hiking enthusiasts to have an unforgettable camping trip with a marvelous bonfire.