To build a fire pit, dig a slight depression in the earth, and surround it with a ring of stones. Make sure the pit is located a safe distance from any shrubs, bushes, tall grass or other vegetation that may pose a fire hazard.
The campfire depression should be circular and 3 to 8 inches deep at the deepest point, depending on the size of the campfire. Most fire rings should be approximately 2 feet in diameter, although for large groups it may be necessary to expand the ring up to 4 feet. It is also important to ensure that the rocks used to surround the fire pit are dry. Wet rocks can explode when heated, causing shrapnel that can injure campers.
Once the fire pit has been dug, campers can build the actual fire by first collecting tinder such as dry grass, bark or twigs. This should be placed in the center of the pit. Slightly larger pieces of wood can then be placed over the tinder in a triangular way that is often compared to a tipi. The camper can then light the tinder and wait for it to catch.
Campers should also make sure that they follow all rules and regulations when building a fire pit on public land. Many national forests restrict the building of fire pits and only allow open campfires in established pits. Some wilderness areas restrict any type of open fire, and seasonal fire restrictions may also be in effect.