Camping often evokes thoughts of campfires.
It just seems that an evening at camp must have one. It’s like the moon and the tides; you can’t change that...
So when the administrators of National Parks around the world started to realize that too many of us having campfires in the wilderness were causing great degradation to the environment they decided to ban campfires.
Initially I took the news with disdain, followed by refusal and eventually I had a good look at the issue.
Fires cause tremendous impact in pristine wilderness. They scar the land.
Even if not escaping out of control with irreversible consequences (bush fires that kill lives and destroy property) even the mere little camp fires cause damage.
I love to travel in areas where there is little or no sign of human impact.
Unfortunately fires leave a scar that takes years to heal.
But I still want my fire; it just adds so much atmosphere.
Years ago, while in USA, somebody (Edgar Peralta) showed me the solution to this dilemma: make a fire in a can.
He produced this can that once lit looked like a small fire.
I couldn’t believe that simple thing would be a great surrogate to a real fire.
He explained to me the basic principles of fabricating one and I have since made hundreds of these.
You will need:
-candle wax (recycle your old unburned candles)
-medium sized empty can (tuna cans seems to work best)
- some cardboard
Your can should be clean and dry.
You can place the can directly on the stove or have a much larger can to melt wax for the fabrication of multiple candlefires ™.
A word of caution: if you are generally a klutz and tend to spill and tip things probably you should not be handling hot wax, however if you can handle a bit of heat (so to speak), be careful and all will be good.
Wax is like oil. Do not spill any water into the liquid wax or an explosion of hot wax will spray everywhere.
Do not overheat wax: if it’s smoking there is great risk of imminent fire. Therefore stay at the stove while melting wax… don’t wonder off to the TV and watch the riveting Australian Idiot reruns…
Once the wax has melted, remove it from the stove with pliers.
Alternatively, if you have a large container of hot wax, carefully pour some into the empty cans, just below the brim.
You will need to insert a spiral of corrugated cardboard into the hot wax.
Add some “spikes” of cardboard that will act as starting wicks.
Let the can cool down before handling it with bare hands.
Candlefires ™ will give you a decent flame (small fire effect) for a couple of hours depending on the quality of the wax.
The great advantage of the candlefire ™ over the fire: people can sit all around without getting smoked out.
candlefires ™ at the table (timber has been protected)
Above pic is a time exposure. The flame is obviously much smaller...
The candlefire ™ is not more than a stove powered by wax therefore totally legal in all National Parks where open fires are not allowed but stoves are.
Light your candlefire ™ on a durable non flammable surface since once the candlefire ™ is lit the wax melts and can’t be repositioned.