The table fire technique
An overview of the technique, building method and advantages/disadvantages.
The table fire is a technique which can be combined with other fire techniques which burn above ground and are not bigger as 1,5ft / 45cm.
As you can choose which type of fire to build on the elevated platform, it can be used for many different fire types. It’s most likely that the table fire needs more maintenance than when the fire was build on the ground. This is mainly because the size wood that is used can’t be bigger than the size of the table.
The name of this technique is originated in the way a table is constructed to place a fire on top of it.
Build technique and methods to start the fire
Search for four strong and straight sticks with a fork-shaped end. These sticks should be about 1ft / 30cm longer as the height you want them to be from the ground. Use a pre-drill-stick which is not as wide as the four collected sticks to drill four holes in the ground in a square shape. The distance between the holes should be about 2ft / 60cm and they should be a little less then 1ft / 30cm deep.
Place the sticks in the holes and make sure they stand firm. Now place two strong and straight fresh branches in the fork-shaped ends of both pairs of sticks.
Now use other fresh, straight and strong branches to cross the distance between the previously placed branches (attached to the fork-shaped sticks). To prevent your table to burn through, add a layer of stones and / or sand on top of your table. Always make sure that the structure is stable.
When there’s a high risk of a root or peatfire, first soak the ground underneath the table with water. Also take note of flammable materials near the fireplace. Make sure this ground stays soaked for the duration of the fire. Because the fire is above ground, look carefully what the wind does to the fire. This fire has a higher risk of sparks leaving and creating a fire elsewhere. Protecting the fire from the wind may be needed.
Leave no trace
This fire fits very well in the ‘leave no trace principal’. The construction can be broken down afterwards and if the remains of the fire are cleaned well, there won’t be any traces of the fire left.
Pro’s and con’s
The table fire is, like said, effective to start a fire above snow and above surfaces which have a great risk of root / peatfires. Depending on what type of fire you want to start on the constructed table gives you the opportunity to cook, get heat or light from the fire.
It needs an extra initial expenditure of energy to create this fireplace. Wind has a great effect on the fire that you build on the table.
It depends on your situation which fire technique is best for you.
You have to pay attention to the possibility of a root fire when using a table/raised fire in a wooded area. This is a fire that burns underground along the root system of a tree. Root fires can also travel underground and resurface some distance from their point of origin. This is especially the case in dry conditions.