Most fires are built to meet specific needs or uses, either heat, light, or preparing food and water. The following configurations are the most commonly used for fires and serve one or more needs
The Tepee Fire can be used as a light source and has a concentrated heat point directly above the apex of the tepee which is ideal for boiling water. To build a Tepee Fire, place a large handful of tinder on the ground in the middle of the fire site, push a stick into the ground slanting over the tinder, and then lean a circle of kindling sticks against the slanting stick (like a tepee) with and opening toward the windward side for draft. To light the fire, crouch in front of the fire laying with your back to the wind and use an ignition source to light the tinder. Feed the fire from the downwind side, first with thin pieces of kindling, then gradually with thicker pieces of fuel creating a teepee shape of fuel above the burning kindling. Continue feeding until the fire has reached the desired size. The Tepee Fire has one big drawback, it tends to fall over easily; however, it serves as an excellent starter fire.
As the name implies, this lay looks similar to a log cabin. Log Cabin Fires give off a great amount of light and heat primarily because of the amount of oxygen which enters the fire. The Log Cabin Fire creates a quick and large bed of coals and can be used for cooking or as the basis for a signal fire.
The Long Fire begins as a trench, the length of which is laid to take advantage of existing wind. The Long Fire can also be built above ground by using two parallel green logs to hold the coals together. These logs should be at least 6 inches in diameter and situated so the cooking utensils will rest upon the logs. Two one-inch thick sticks can be placed under both logs, one at each end of the Long Fire. This is done to allow the coals to receive more air.
The Pyramid Fire looks similar to a Log Cabin Fire except there are layers of fuel in place of a hollow framework. The advantage of a Pyramid Fire is that it burns for a long period of time resulting in a large bed of coals. This fire could possibly be used as an overnight fire when placed in front of a shelter opening.
The Star Fire is used when conservation of fuel is necessary or a small fire is desired. It burns at the center of the “wheel” and must be constantly tended. Hardwood fuels work best with this type of fire.