How Hot Is A Campfire? – Cooking over live flames

by | Sep 23, 2022 | campfire | 0 comments

How Hot is a Campfire? 

Sitting around a campfire and cooking is one of my favourite things to do. A campfire not only provides the heat and light needed to carry you and your friends through the evening. But an open fire provides an excellent source of cooking. Cooking over an open fire, whether using grills, dutch ovens, or even a stick with marshmallows or a sausage, is a simple way to cook and enjoy an experience .

But just how hot is a campfire? And how can you tell its temperature? This guide answers these and other common questions about campfires. Keep reading to learn more.

How Hot is a Campfire?

Averagely, the campfire’s temperature reaches 600 degrees Fahrenheit or 315 degrees Celsius. But, temperatures can be higher for large campfires, even exceeding 3000 degrees F or 1650 degrees celsius.

Gauging the temperature of a campfire can be difficult. However, you can use figures for different areas of the fire that have varying colors.

how hot is a campfire

White: Hottest part of the flame 2000+ F or 1093+ C

Orange / Yellow: Typically near the centre of the fire, usually below 1000 F or 537 C

Red: Coolest part of the fire. Usually below 1000 F or 337 C.

Blue: Inside the white area of the flame, the hottest part. Can reach up-to 3000 f or 1650 C

What Affects Campfire Heat?

The exact campfire temperature varies depending on several factors. These include;

Oxygen Flow

A steady oxygen supply is needed for a campfire to continue burning out. Generally, fires in a metal fire pit won’t generate as much heat as open fires that enjoy a gentle breeze. But, please be careful not to light your fire when there are strong winds. Otherwise, you’ll put yourself and the environment at risk of damage.

If you want a steady supply of oxygen, make sure you layer your tinder correctly and build a teepee structure on the top using kindling. With this formation, you can then add another layer of smaller firewood in the same formation.

Add large wood pieces to the teepee structure as the fire increases. This way, more air will go into the fire, ensuring the flames are constantly burning hot. We insist on determining the wind direction. If the breeze is strong, it can increase the fire’s temperature and size.

The Size of the Fire

Your campfire temperature is dependent on the size of the fire. During camping, it is advisable to keep the campfire at a medium size to control it easily. This size is enough to keep you warm and cook food. It’s also essential to think about the size of your firewood. Try to pick logs measuring 16 inches long and about 3-6 inches wide. These sizes are manageable and provide enough heat needed.

Type of Fuel

Wood types do not burn the same. That is why specific woods burn hotter and are recommended for campfires. The most common ones include:

  • Hickory-that retains less moisture. It burns hot but is very difficult to chop. We recommend it for grilling and smoking fish or meat.
  • Oak– is a slow-burning wood that produces heat in sparks form. But it still makes a lot of heat.
  • Cedar– doesn’t create large flames like other wood types. But it offers excellent heat, ideal for warming you up.
  • Ash – is lightweight firewood that quickly burns and doesn’t produce much smoke. It also holds less moisture and it’s easy to split.
types of wood fuel

Size of Piece of Wood

Besides the type of wood you use, the size also influences how hot your campfire burns. Large wood pieces add more fuel to the blaze, which increases its temperature. For this reason, it’s always recommended to work with manageable pieces.

Start with kindling a or twigs to get the fire going, then build the teepee structure around this with the larger pieces until it is the size you require. Keep it small, a fire doesn’t need to be large. Just enough to cook on without it being difficult to manage.

Campfire Structure

A teepee structure is an easy way of building your campfire. You start by making a down-facing cone using sticks and twigs. Then on top, you layer large wood pieces. Put as much tinder material as you can inside the cone but be careful not to block the airflow. Once you light your tinder bundle, put it inside your structure and push air to start the fire. This style is excellent for steady oxygen flow. With more airflow, you can have a hot fire.

Campfire Cooking Temperatures

Cooking on a campfire is easy, provided you know the correct cooking temperature. It’s always wise to use the plume region (the area above flames) for cooking. The temperature here is around 600 degrees Fahrenheit. However, note that the exact cooking temperature depends on what you cook. We recommend temperatures of 140-165 degrees Fahrenheit for meat to ensure that all bacteria are killed.

Fire Safety Tips

The first thing you should know is how warm the campfire gets. Please remember that there have been reports of fire eruptions from campfires, which is why you must be vigilant in following safety tips. Do not build a large fire that you can’t manage easily. Keep the fire as small as possible so you can put it out quickly if something goes wrong.

Additionally, once you are done, extinguish the fire using water. Please don’t leave any fire unattended and avoid using soil as it can keep the fire smoldering for a long time.

How Hot Is a Campfire: FAQs?

What fuel woods shouldn’t I use?

Poison Ivy, Oleander, and Rhododendron. These are toxic and can seriously affect your health.

Can a campfire melt metal utensils?

Yes. Your campfire is hot enough to melt metal cookware and utensils. However, some metal utensils are more heat resistant than others. Avoid using aluminium-based utensils when cooking. Instead, opt for cast iron and stainless steel as they have a higher melting point.


Understanding the campfire temperatures is crucial to help you make a wise choice, especially if you are planning campfire grilling. We hope this guide helped you know the temperatures and how you can be safe while lighting a campfire.




Colin has been grilling, smoking, and barbecuing in his yard for as long as he remembers.  His favorite dish is pork belly smoked on his favorite offset smoker. Read more about Colin here.


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