Last Updated on June 11, 2023

There are several reasons why someone might need to build a fire in the desert.

Firstly, the desert can get incredibly cold at night, with temperatures dropping rapidly after sunset.

A fire can help to keep you warm and prevent hypothermia, especially if you are camping or stranded without proper shelter.

Secondly, a fire can be used to cook food and boil water, which is essential for survival in the desert. In the arid environment, finding safe drinking water can be a challenge, and a fire can be used to purify water by boiling it, removing dangerous bacteria and pathogens.

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Desert Camping Bonfire
Desert Campfire. Photo courtesy of Tomáš Malík

How to start a fire in the desert

First off, it’s important to understand the unique challenges of building a fire in the desert.

The desert is notoriously dry, and fire danger is always a concern.

You’ll need to be mindful of any fire restrictions or bans in the area, and you’ll also want to be sure that you have plenty of water on hand to extinguish your fire when you’re done.

Assuming that you’re in an area where fires are allowed and you’re taking all necessary safety precautions, let’s talk about how to start a fire in the desert.

There are several different methods you can use, but one of the most reliable is the “teepee” method.

To start, you’ll need to gather your materials. Look for dry, dead wood that’s no thicker than your wrist. You’ll also need smaller twigs and kindling to get your fire started, as well as some tinder to ignite your kindling.

Once you have your materials gathered, you can begin building your teepee.

Start by arranging your larger pieces of wood in a teepee shape, leaving a small gap in the center.

Place your tinder in the center of the teepee, and then arrange your kindling around it in a criss-cross pattern.

To light your fire, use a lighter or matches to ignite the tinder. Be patient and let the fire grow on its own.

Resist the urge to blow on the fire, as this can cause sparks to fly and potentially start a wildfire.

As your fire grows, you can gradually add larger pieces of wood to keep it going. Just be sure to monitor your fire closely and never leave it unattended.

When you’re done with your fire, be sure to fully extinguish it by pouring water over the ashes and stirring them until they’re cool to the touch.


To start a fire in the desert, you will need several essential items.

First, you will need a fire starter, or something as simple as matches or a lighter. It’s best to bring several of these, just in case one fails.

You’ll also need some kindling, which can include dry grass, leaves, or small sticks.

These may not be easy to find if you are in a sandy desert, you may then use pieces of shredded paper or cardboard.

In addition to a fire starter and kindling, you will need larger pieces of wood to keep the fire going.

It’s a good idea to gather wood beforehand, as it can be challenging to find in the desert.

Look for dead branches or fallen trees, but be sure to check for any signs of animal activity before collecting wood.

To make starting a fire in the desert even easier, there are several products available designed specifically for this purpose.

One popular option is a fire starter kit that includes everything you need to start a fire, such as matches, kindling, and even a small stove.

Other products include fire-starting gels, which can be used to quickly ignite kindling, and portable fire pits, which make it easy to build a safe fire anywhere.

Desert Camping Essentials Checklist

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