MDC offers free sessions on fire starting outdoors in wet winter weather

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City, Mo. – A campfire or a blaze in a backyard fire pit adds light and warmth to outdoor winter gatherings.  But sometimes that means starting fires amid snows or dampness. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free “Blazemasters” clinic in three separate sessions on Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City.

Each Blazemasters session takes only an hour to complete. The sessions will be from 10 to 11 a.m., or from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 1 to 2 p.m. Instructor for the classes will be Pat Whalen, MDC naturalist and veteran winter camper.

Starting a campfire in the dead of winter can be a challenge, Whalen says. Participants will learn which wood burns best, how to split kindling, and how to build a campfire in any weather. The skills will also be useful for getting fires going in fireplaces. Participants will also learn how to make a homemade fire starter that they can take home with them.

This program will be held outdoors in the Discovery Center’s native plant garden. Attendees should dress for the weather. Participants must be 12 or older. Registration is required.

All COVID-19 precautions and local protocols will be followed, including physical distancing and face masks.

To register for a session, visit The Gorman Discovery Center is located at 4750 Troost Ave. in the heart of Kansas City. For more information, visit