FireWorks for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades - E05: Fuel Properties: The Campfire Challenge
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
  • Ilana L. Abrahamson
    US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
Date Created: October 6, 2017

Cataloging Information

  • fire spread
  • fuel moisture
  • ladder fuels
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 8, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 25025


Lesson Overview: In this activity, students explore how different properties of fuels affect fire behavior - especially how hard it is to ignite fuels and how long they are likely to burn. Students consider various combinations of fuels (“fuel recipes”), predict how they will burn, then test their hypotheses.

Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding of fuel properties and how they affect fire spread and fire duration.


  • Students can select and arrange fuels to build a small campfire that will be easy to ignite and burn a relatively long time.
  • Students can explain how fuel properties affect fire spread and fire duration.