When organizing a fall bonfire, one of the first things that you must do is to find a suitable location for the activity, and to make sure that you are legally allowed to have an organized bonfire there. Talking with a fire marshal, or a by-law officer, you can discern where and when a bonfire could be had, and at what time the festivities must be drawn to a close. Not looking into the legalities of having a fall bonfire could see you and your guests facing fines, and having to clean up the bonfire right away and leave the area.
Even if you live in the country and have no neighbors for a mile or more, having a bonfire permit will enable you to enjoy your festivities without the embarrassment of having to send all of your friends and family back home. Living in a city, you will most likely not be able to obtain a bonfire permit, and if you plan on going to a campground for the party, make sure that they allow bonfires, as opposed to campfires, and at what time you would have to stop the activities.
Since you would not want to stop the bonfire way too early, long before the moon starts to shine and the stars start to blanket the night skies, finding a location that allows bonfires to run all night is your best avenue, as many guests may want to stay later than others. With a bonfire permit in hand, you then decide what types of wood to burn, and just how big this bonfire is going to be.
A bonfire, known as a “large outdoors fire for burning garbage or for celebrations”, should be at least 4 to 6 feet in height, and give off more than enough heat to warm the party goers who dare not sit right beside your towering inferno. You will need at least one-half of a cord of firewood for a decent bonfire to burn for more than four to six hours, and have the wood supplier include some large logs. The larger the log, the longer it will burn.
When you purchase, or forage the wood for your bonfire, you should get an equal mixture of as many different types of wood. Cherry, rose, apple and maple are some of the more popular woods for bonfires, as the mixture of the different woods makes for great meat smoking or cooking. Make sure that you have more than enough wood to burn a large fire for the amount of time that you have told your guests that the bonfire will be roaring.
Your bonfire should be setup so that there is one area for the fire, and one area off to the side for shoveling hot coals into, for making hot dogs, hamburgers, sch’mores and other snacks or meals. Make sure that you have the proper utensils for making any meals and snacks that you have designed for the bonfire, so that your guests do not burn themselves and require emergency medical attention for major burns to their hands and arms.