How Hot Is A Campfire?

When it comes to camping, who doesn’t love a campfire? You might want to cook on your campfire, but how hot is it. In this article, we will discuss how hot a campfire is and any factors that could affect the heat of your fire. 

Temperature Of A Campfire

The temperature that your campfire reaches, does depend on the size of your campfire itself. Huge campfires such as bonfires can reach temperatures of 2000 degrees fahrenheit, which is actually hot enough to melt metals like bronze, silver and gold and copper. 

However the average campfire has an internal temperature of 900 degrees fahrenheit, which is still hot enough to melt tin and lead. Yet above the flames, this area is called the thermal plume and in this area you can reach temperatures of 600 degrees fahrenheit. In the thermal plume is where you’ll do any campfire cooking. Obviously the further away from the flames you go the temperature will begin to drop. 

How Hot Is A Campfire

Cast iron pans are great to cook on as they won’t melt at these temperatures. The temperature does vary on how big your fire is, the bigger the fire the higher the temperature you can reach. Thus, if you have a smaller fire then you may not reach these higher end temperatures.

When it comes to cooking you want to be cooking at around 600 degrees fahrenheit for campfire cooking. 

What Affects Your Campfire Temperature

Apart from the size of your campfire, there are some other factors that can affect the temperature of your campfire. 

Type Of Wood

A campfire needs wood and there are different types of wood that you can use for your campfire. Some of the best species of wood to choose for your campfire are oak, hickory, cedar and ash. All of these species burn at different rates, as a result some types of wood will produce more heat than others. 

Once you have chosen the type of wood you want to use, you need to make sure that the wood is as dry as possible. The dryer the wood the better, because dry wood will burn at a lot more easily, which will then produce higher temperatures for your overall campfire.

Once you have gotten your campfire going, you can place pieces of wood that need drying out around the edge to dry out and when they are dry you can then add them into your campfire. 

Size Of The Wood

It is important to have the right balance of firewood, tinder and kindling when it comes to creating a campfire. You can use all three types to have a good campfire and you know when you should be adding which type to your fire. 

There is tinder which consists of small bits of wood, such as small twigs, shred or shavings of wood. Paper and cardboard can also be used as tinder as they catch fire and burn really quickly. 

Next there is kindling which are slightly larger pieces of wood, for example small chunks of wood or slightly larger twigs compared to the twigs you used for the tinder. This acts as the foundations of the fire that you are creating.

Finally there is your firewood, which are very large chunks of wood that will keep your fire going all night. These pieces of wood are normally laid on top of the fire you have created. They take a lot more heat to burn, but once they do begin to burn they burn slowly and create the perfect cooking fire for a campfire. 

How Hot Is A Campfire

The Position Of Your Wood

You can’t just put your firewood in any old position, especially if you want to create a hot campfire. Try to create a teepee structure out of your kindling that is placed above your tinder.

You want to keep this teepee structure for as long as possible even when you are adding your firewood. This position allows for the most oxygen to flow through your fire, which will help it to burn for longer. 

Oxygen Flow

Any campfire needs enough oxygen to keep it going, which will also help the temperature rise. The larger the fire, the more oxygen it will need. However, any campfire needs a good supply of oxygen, as it will help you have a strong fire that will last a lot longer. 

How To Make The Perfect Campfire

Normally you will start with lots of tinder as this will catch alight a lot quicker. However, you do need quite a bit of tinder to get the fire going. After the tinder has caught alight, that is when you start adding kindling to keep the fire going. After that you can then add your firewood. Your chosen firewood burns the slowest out of the three, so once you have added your firewood your campfire will be burning for a while. 

Sometimes you may have to stoke the fire when you see some of the flames starting to die out. To stoke your fire, all you have to do is add more wood of any kind to the fire. Stirring the ashes that are created under the fire will help give your fire life and keep the heat going. 


As a campfire can reach extremely high temperatures, you need to be really careful around the flames. Always try to keep a safe distance from the fire, because you only need one second of contact with wood that is 158 degrees fahrenheit and you can receive third degree burns. Therefore, fire safety is important. 

Normally campfires are set up in a fire ring, even if you have to make one yourself. You should never make your campfire near steep slopes or hanging branches, otherwise the flames could alight the nearby trees. It should be made on flat and clear ground. 

Alongside this the area of your fire should be clear of anything that could be flammable, such as dry leaves for up to 10 feet. You don’t want to risk accidentally catching anything else on fire. 

Never leave your fire unattended and have either water and/or a shovel nearby in case something happens to go wrong. Although as long as you create an appropriate sized fire for needs this shouldn’t happen. 

How Hot Is A Campfire


A campfire can reach very high temperatures such as 600 to 900 degrees fahrenheit, but this does depend on the size of your campfire. They are a very enjoyable part of camping and now you know how to create the perfect campfire for your next camping trip to roast those marshmallows or enjoy a campfire cooked meal. 

You must always be careful when it comes to campfires, because they can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. Due to the heat they produce they can cause a lot of damage, so always be wary and abide fire safety when you next light a campfire.

Eric Willis
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