Campfires are the highlight of every summer camp experience and the glow of a warm fire provides the perfect opportunity for kids to enjoy time-honored traditions such as roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories. Along with the traditional campfire stories, lessons can be learned about science and history that take on new meaning when they are taught outdoors. This season, arm your little camper with a few fascinating facts about campfires that they can share with their fellow camp friends.
While everyone knows that fire is hot, campers are often surprised at the extreme temperatures a campfire can reach. It only takes a few hours for a campfire to reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt lead.
Many people bury their fire when they are done out of the belief that it will snuff out the flames. However, hot coals left beneath the ground can continue to smolder. If they are near tree roots or other flammable materials, then they can reignite and cause a forest fire. Coals can burn underground for an extremely long time. In Australia, Burning Mountain contains underground coal that has been smoldering for over 6,000 years.
Evidence of what is believed to be the first-known fire has been discovered in Swartkrans, South Africa. There, charred antelope bones suggest that humans were cooking their meat over a fire as far back as 1.9 million years ago. Interestingly, it appears as though dried grass and leaves were used as kindling rather than wood.
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