Bonfires can help to create a warm, bright atmosphere during those winter twilight you decide to spend outdoors and those family get-togethers staged beside a beach. Moreover, if you are the type that loves hanging out with your friends near a beautiful fireplace, you’ll surely fall in love with bonfires.
In this guide, we will take a deep glance at bonfires, explore some important details about bonfires, as well as provide genuine answers to a question you probably have in mind, “how hot are bonfires?”
What You Should Know About Bonfires.
A bonfire is an outdoor fire usually created to make special gatherings such as camping, picnic, night parties, etc, more spectacular. Bonfires belong to the class A fires (fires instigated by combustible materials like wood, plastic, fabric, paper, etc).
Meanwhile, bonfires are grouped as class A fires primarily because they are wood fires. That is, you can only start a bonfire with some logs of wood under the right conditions.
However, note that the dangers of a bonfire can be as much as its usefulness, especially when it becomes very hot. A bonfire tends to attain an extremely high temperature of about 2012°F if you don’t control it in time.
And at such a high temperature, the bonfire can melt solids, and metals or even spread a fire. You won’t want to turn your birthday party into a fire scene.
But the question is, aside from the maximum temperature bonfires can reach, how hot can they be under normal circumstances? Well, let’s find out.
How Hot Are Bonfires?
The typical maximum heat bonfires can produce should be around 1650°F. However, this temperature can extend to 2012°F (charcoal wood) in extreme cases.
If you choose to roast some slices of beef in a bonfire, you can reduce the intensity of the heat supplied to the beef by roasting it above the continuous flame area. The continuous flame area of a bonfire is that in which there are no detectable flames.
Owing to this, you can get a lower temperature of about 600°F from the bonfire. But keep in mind that flames (light orange) still appear at this temperature even though they are considered invisible.
At lower temperatures, the color of flames fades. That is, it changes from its usual red or deep orange colors at high temperatures to a lighter color.
Bright red flames appear at any temperature close to 1832°F while orange flames appear at temperatures that fall within the range of 2012°F to 2192°F. On the other hand, blue flames emerge at relatively high temperatures between 4532°F and 5432°F.
In the right circumstances, blue flames will not appear in a bonfire. Blue flames only show up when a fire is instigated by extremely flammable substances like gasoline, propane, etc.
- Read More: Is Tar Flammable?
Is Bonfires The Same As Campfires?
Bonfires and campfires are similar in appearance. Plus, they serve the same purpose.
This is why most people see bonfire as a perfect synonym for a campfire. There is however a slight difference between these two types of fires.
First, campfires are minor outdoor fires people use for cooking, entertainment, light, etc. Bonfires are large-scale outdoor fires strictly used for celebrations.
Also, the methods of starting both fires are different. And unlike a campfire which is named after its purpose, a bonfire is derived from the word “bonefire” which means “a fire of bones.”
How To Start A Bonfire
You can start a bonfire and keep it burning within a few minutes. All you need is just three major materials which include sufficient heat, oxygen, and wood.
Wood requires about 16% of oxygen to burn and the atmosphere contains approximately 21% of oxygen.
This simply means the wood’s oxygen requirement would be met in no time. Back to the source of heat…
You can light up a collection of woods with matches, and flammable crude oil products like kerosene or petrol (optional). However, the woods must be arranged properly and stacked side by side so that the heat can be evenly distributed.
Depending on how you want the bonfire to burn faster, you can mix light woods with heavy woods. Light woods tend to burn faster and more steadily than heavy woods, thus, they can sustain a fire.
Additionally, only dry woods should be used to start a bonfire. This is because wet wood can take forever to ignite and you won’t be able to wait till that happens.
Once the heat supplied to the bonfire reaches about 482°F to 572°F (dry wood ignition range), burning begins and several colored flames will start showing up. Oftentimes, bonfires look similar to a fireworks display.
What Colours Do Bonfires Show Off?
Bonfire flames are produced in the presence of fuel (wood), oxygen, and a high temperature. Flame is the characteristic of a bonfire that enables it to change colors.
Note that it is flames that determine the color produced by a fire and not the fire itself. Meanwhile, the color a flame produces depends on the fuel that produces it.
Wood contains some atoms of special metals like potassium and calcium. These metals in wood burn to release colored flames.
Potassium releases a purple flame while calcium gives off a brick-red flame. This accounts for the characteristic color of bonfire flames (wood flames) which might be purple, orange, red, or even yellow at times.
At What Temperature Does A Wood Burn?
Bonfires, commonly known as wood fires, burn at the same rate as wood at high temperatures. A typical dry wood will ignite when subjected to a temperature of about 572°F.
Wood burns to release heat and certain gases. After these gases have been completely released, the burning wood temperature skyrockets to around 1112°F and as a result, it gives off more heat.
The wood then continues to burn until it reaches the apex of its flame-producing temperature which is usually about 1650°F.
What Should You Call The Hottest Part Of A Bonfire?
Several parts of bonfires burn at different rates and each part has its distinct name.
While some parts of bonfires burn slowly, some burn moderately and the rest rapidly. The part of a bonfire that burns the most is the hottest region and it is known as the “teepee.”
The teepee is always found in the middle region of the bonfire. Plus, flames that burn in this zone are usually 1400°F and above.
Bonfires are fires for special events. Nevertheless, these fires can become very hot and dangerous if care is not taken.
This guide explains everything you need to know about how hot a bonfire can be. You can also visit here to read more about how to put out bonfires.