An important ingredient for a successful fire is the fire mentality. Make sure you always have enough usable tinder and fuel for your next fire. When making your first campfire, think of the next campfire you can make.
Is it useful to make solid charred cloth or to store charcoal? This takes the smallest spark and so you can save material again. Or do you use this fire to dry some tinder etc for the next campfire? Do you make a fire bundle or do you use a horsehoof fungus to carry a glowing glowing coal with you?
Far too often we realize (too) late what we all need to make a successful fire.
What do I have at my disposal to make fire?
Do I have the means to process the fuel found? Do I have a saw, ax, knife to portion the wood?
What types of wood/fuel do I have at my disposal? Is there hardwood for a hot glowing fire on which I can cook and that emits enough infrared radiation so that I can get in and in warm?
All questions that you can ask yourself and that contribute to what is called fire mentality.
What’s the fire for?
Another part of the fire mentality is the realization: “What do you need the fire for”. This is one of the first questions you should ask yourself. Sometimes you have to do it with the resources you have but more often you have choice. Choice in the size of the fire, the shape of the fire but also the choice of the wood type.
I too have been “guilty” more than once of a so-called White Man’s Fire. Such a fire that you can see from afar, consumes way too much fuel. Too hot to sit close to. At the front it feels like you are being roasted while your back side is stone cold and staying cold. Unless you turn regularly of course ;-).