Starting a fire is one of the primary activities in a survival situation. In nearly any outdoor scenario having a fire is lifesaving. You may need a fire for a number of reasons:
My grandfather is known for his 1-match fires. I don't think I ever saw him use more than one as a kid. Whether he was starting a fire in the cabin stove, burning refuse, setting up camp, or burning scrap from a construction site.
Required Components for a Fire
Dry Fuel - In a survival situation the fuel has to be dry. Damp fuel either won't ignite or will smoke - a lot. The paper, wood, leaves, etc. must be dry.
Heat - Whether you are starting a fire with another flame (lighter, match, torch, etc.) or with friction (bow, etc.) you'll need enough heat to ignight your fuel.
Oxygen - You'll need a draft to keep smoke away from the fuel source and fresh oxygen close to it. Fire requires oxygen to burn.
Proven Tips to Starting a Fire
Prepare for the Fire. Find the following and set it aside close to your fire location
Tinder - find small super dry twigs, needles, leaves, or paper - 2 handfuls
Small Fuel - find super dry small twigs and branches - 2 handfuls
Medium Fuel - find medium dry branches - 2 handfuls
Large Fuel - find logs and large branches - enough for the time you need to burn
Secure a Lighter or Matches
Build a Fire Ring. Find a safe place away from water sources. Place large stones in a ring on the ground. Remove any dry grass in the area.
Start with a burnable base.This one gets missed in many tutorials. If you build a fire on the ground, a lot of the heat from the fire gets absorbed into heating the dirt, snow, or rock. Find a flat, dry piece of wood or make a stable platform of medium sized branches.
Build a small mound of super dry twigs, needles, leaves, or paper. Make sure the mound has plenty of air and is NOT compressed.
Build a small structure (teepee, log cabin, etc.) of super dry small branches around the mound. Make sure there is space for the fire to breathe.
Light the Fire. Place your match or lighter low on the small mound until it's lit.
Feed small Fuel. Feed some of the small tinder into the fire as it burns the mound. Feed it until the small structure is burning.
Feed Medium Fuel. Add medium fuel to the burning structure until coals begin to form.
Feed larger Fuel. Add larger and larger branches until the fire is roaring.
Maintain. Keep adding branches and logs as the fire burns down. You need a minimum of 3 branches or logs in the fire at all times to keep the smoke down.
How to Use a Ferro Rod to Build a fire
For emergency purposes we love ferro rods - assuming they are the righ size. They are durable, work when wet, can be used to start hundreds of fires. Not all ferro rods are the same.
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