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Bender Heaven

28 29 outside Fires and the essential kettle When choosing the site for an outside fire always think safety first. Make sure combustibles twigs, moss, leaves etc are removed from within 46 foot or more, depending on the location. Ideally there should be bare earth beneath your fire, but lighting it on short grass is safe enough. Otherwise remove the turf with a spade. Long grasses, reeds, dead leaves and low cover such as hanging branches are the main things to look out for. Its best to be on the safe sidehaving to put out a bush fire that you have inadvertently started yourself is an experience worth avoiding. Extra care is needed in the vicinity of pine needles, especially as youre also more likely to be using pine logs which create sparks when burnt. Fire can also travel underneath a bed of pine needles so if you are near pine trees make sure your fire is sited on bare earth, or better still, outside of a pine wood altogether. The distance your outside fire needs to be from your dwelling depends on its visibility from within. Many travelling gypsies and itinerants past used a small round bender without an internal woodburner, instead having a large open doorway with an open fire within 23 feet of the entrance. This is fine because you can keep constant vigil over your fire from your doorway, not forgetting to make it safe before you go to sleep or leave the site. For firewood, avoid Elder which does not burn and choose dead dry wood where available. Dry out wet logs by arranging them around the fire, though keeping a watchful eye on them. A previously unmentioned item of essential equipment is your trusty kettle. When leaving camp always kick the embers of your fire apart to prevent it flaring up if it gets windy while youre out.
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