The self-feeding camp fire
How many times have you jolted awake from the cold because your fire went out? This technique will help. It's a method for building a fire that lasts much longer and requires practically no maintenance.
It works like a candle
If you watch a candle burn, you will notice the wick stays aflame and burns down into the wax ever so slowly. When constructing this fire, a very similar set of physics are in play. We first pile up the fuel wood, starting with the largest pieces on bottom while gradually getting to the smaller fuel at the top. When a large stable platform of wood is constructed, a very small fire is lit on top of the pile so as to produce a small bed of coals. Those coals gain strength as they slowly burn down through the many layers of fuel wood... just like a candle wick burning through wax. The more wood you begin with, the longer your fire will last. And because it is burning downward, you don't have to tend the fire at all.
Build the platform
Gather the largest fuel wood you have and create a platform with each piece side by side. This will be the very first layer of your wood structure. It should be as dense as you can get it and you should pack smaller pieces of wood into any gaps that remain.
Stack on the layers
Now add your medium sized wood on top of the platform, perpendicularly, and progressively build upward, layer by layer, using smaller and smaller fuel as you go. Finally, place your tinder bundle on top.
Build a small tee-pee
With your tinder in place, build a very small tee-pee as the capstone piece to this fire structure. It should only be large enough to create a small bed coals.
Light it and let it be
Once you help the initial bed of coals to form, the fire will continue to burn down without further assistance. You can alter the burn time duration by simply changing the amount of wood that you use. In this example, I used a very small amount of wood, but it produced a very hot fire that burned extremely efficiently with a strong bed of coals. If you want the fire to last through the night, you will need much more wood than shown in this example. Enjoy!