What? You thought your boyfriend or dad was going to do it? They’re useless. They never even became boyscouts. Geeze. Light your own motherfucking fire.
First: Don’t be an asshole. Did you notice a sign that said that fire danger was high? Or that the campsite you’ve selected is better without a fire because it’s in some protected wilderness? If you did, stick to your Coleman stove and don’t light a fire. But if it’s all cool, get on with your badass self.
Second: Choose a place to light your fire. Does your campsite have a fire ring? Use that. No? Clear a spot. Leave a couple of feet around the fire-part. Clear it with your boots. Move leaves and shit out of the way.
Third: Get some wood. No, not like that. Some campsites have wood to buy, some don’t. If you’re collecting wood around your campsite, choose wood that is both dead AND fallen. Don’t chop wood off a tree. That’s shit an asshole does. Also, don’t move wood from your backyard (or any other place that’s far away from where you are making your fire) to your campsite. That’s a great way to move invasive species around and it’s a shitty thing to do.
Get wood in 4 different sizes: tinder (dried leaves, pine needles, etc.), tiny branches (like, really small, teeny tiny), branches the size of a pencil, and branches the size of a cigar. Anything bigger is bonus. Also, make sure that shit is dry. You can tell because it’ll snap like, well, a twig. If it doesn’t snap right away, that shit is wet. Don’t use it. It’ll only break your heart.
Fourth: Set up the tinder. Then take the teeny tiny branches and arrange them like a teepee around the tinder. I even took you an awesome picture of what this shit should look like. Pro-tip: if you’ve planned ahead, you can bring some dryer lint with you. It makes amazing tinder.
Fifth: Light your fire! Use matches if you have them, or a lighter. Light the tinder. Hopefully the tiny branches will catch fire. Note: lighting a fire is much harder than it looks. If anything is remotely wet, your fire may fail. If it looks like it’s dying, blow on it. It may help. Or you might be skipping the marshmallows, either way, by the time you get it going, you’ll be amazed humans ever figured this shit out.
Sixth: Once the fire is going, start adding the pencil-sized branches to the fire. Once those are lit, add the cigar sized branches. If you have bigger branches, start to add those once everything is lit. Always add in the shape of a teepee, making sure there is room to let air around the fire.
ALWAYS PUT YOUR FIRE OUT! Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I have been hiking and seen a campfire that was left smoldering by some asshole. To ensure every spark is out, stir it around with a stick, making sure to bury the embers with dirt. Then, if you have extra water, pour that water on it. Don’t leave it until it stops smoking.