Teaching Fire Safety with an Edible Fire

Learning by doing not only applies to school but also to camping skills.  According to the people at a Seattle Fire Watch Company, it is easier to teach someone fire safety and building with items that are not flammable compared to trying to teach them how to build a fire when it is needed.  The following activity is great for the novice who has never built a fire, a primer to prepare individuals for a camping trip, and as a refresher course on fire safety.  While this activity is fun and games, possible life-threatening behaviors can be stopped during this learning process instead of being exhibited during a camping trip that can risk both human and animal life with just an unintended spark.

The supplies listed below are very open-end and can be a way of using up those leftover supplies of candy and snacks.  But when creating the edible fire, please follow Leave No Trace guidelines.  This means to only use items that you are going to reuse such as a mess kit, reusable silverware, and drinking cup.


Edible Fire Recipe

The ingredients below are broken down by area of use.

Safety Circle- plate, handkerchief, graham cracker, large cookie or lettuce leaf

Water Bucket-2 reusable cups filled with water, juice, sport drink or salad dressing

Fire Ring-mini and/or large marshmallows, jelly beans, chocolate covered peanut candy, ring or pop-shaped cereal or raisins

Rake-fork or finger

Shovel-spoon or gumdrop on pretzel stick

Match-toothpick, thin pretzel stick, licorice stick or candy corn on a toothpick

Tinder-shredded coconut, potato sticks, chow mein noodles, shredded lettuce and carrots, shredded cheese or broken up shredded wheat

Kindling-pretzel sticks, chow mein noodles or potatoes sticks

Fuel Logs-pretzels logs, bread sticks, tootsie rolls, carrot sticks, celery sticks or cheese puffs

Fire Starter-gum drops or chocolate kisses

Soil-hot chocolate mix or crumbled chocolate cookies and or brownies

Sparks or Small Fire-red hots, bite-sized pieces of red licorice, red sugar sprinkles, chopped tomatoes and/or red peppers  

Large Fire-red licorice ropes, candy corn or bacon bits

Optional ingredients toothpick (green sticks) and/or marshmallow ( mini marshmallow on a pretzel stick)

Creating your Edible Fire

  1. Those with long hair need to put their hair up in a ponytail or hat.  Long sleeves need to be buttoned up and shirttails need to be tucked in.  Everyone needs to be reminded not to allow loose clothing or hair to hang around the campfire whether you are building it or just enjoying it.
  2. Gather all the ingredients and decide where to build the fire.  Once that decision is made, remind everyone that a 5 foot space will need to be cleared.  In the edible fire this is represented by the safety circle.
  3. Next get the water buckets, shovel and rake together and place alongside the safety circle.
  4. Create your fire ring on your chosen safety circle.
  5.  Using the fuel logs, create an “A” or “V” shape with the open end facing the direction by which the wind is blowing.
  6. In one of the corners in the “A or V” described in step 5, create a teepee of tinder.
  7. To this teepee of tinder, add a fire starter and light with the match.
  8. Sprinkle with the sparks and/or small fire supplies.
  9. As the small fire grows, add kindling making sure to leave room for air.
  10. Add fuel logs and top with large fire ingredients.
  11. At the end of the fire building, do not forget to put the fire out.  This is done by tearing down the fire, exposing the coals.  Once that is done, smother the fire with the soil ingredients and top with liquid from the water buckets.  Stir and repeat until there is no heat coming off the fire and then cover with one more layer of soil.
  12. Now eat.

Learning how to properly and safely build a fire is an extremely important skill that everyone should know how to do.  Practicing fire building skills prior to your trip can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all.  It can educate those going on the trip on how to handle a fire, safety precautions, and what behavior is expected around the campfire.   As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and when it comes to campfires this saying can mean the difference between life and death.