On those warm summer evenings when other campers are relaxing around a roaring fire, watching the flames dance and toasting s’mores, I’m turning purple huffing and puffing on a tiny ember. After all the years I’ve camped, I cannot conquer the camp fire.
It’s not like I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I start out with dry paper, kindling and a lighter but the paper burns up without so much as a spark from the wood. I can stand in the middle of a California drought with a lit match with no danger to plants or property.
I cheat when necessary. Dump enough BBQ starter fluid on the fire and I can get a brief flare. A couple years ago I started using the artificial fire logs you get in grocery stores, which seemed to do the trick. Then I found my “pyro wand”.
It is an extension attachment that screws onto one of those small green propane bottles you can get in any store that sells camping supplies. It’s about a foot and a half long, and turns an innocent product for outdoor cooking into a flaming torch of hot doom.
I love starting the camp fire now. I pile on the paper and kindling, spark up the propane torch, adjust the flame so it’s the same colour as a welding tool and light it up. My husband and son hide in the RV while I’m playing pyromaniac, but I get results. In no time we’re sitting around a roaring campfire. Add the foil wrapped potatoes for baking and everything’s perfect.
If you happen to camp near us in the future, be sure to stay clear until you see the glow of our campfire. It’s safer that way.