You ‘re not just starting a fire-you ‘re building one! Remember that with that in mind, most people have trouble getting their fires started in the wilderness because they hurry the construction process and use a haphazard selection of starting materials. So, try to think of your fire as a well-designed structure — if you create it correctly, you ‘re going to be rewarded. In this chapter we ‘re showing you how you build a fire. We will also show you some interesting alternatives and blan B’s to matches and lighters, as well as some advice on the toughest, hardest task of all: starting a rain-fire.
Making a Fire
If you find yourself in a situation of survival in the wilderness, being able to build a fire to remain warm can be a matter of life or death. Also bear in mind that there are three things every fire needs: heat to ignite, oxygen to breathe, and fuel to burn. This section discusses what you need to do to get a fire started, depending on your situation, including different fire-building methods. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is a critical time for you in a survival situation to get the fire going — from igniting it until it becomes self-sustaining.
Looking at fire-building materials
✓ Tinder:This is the first substance to be ignited, so it must be the most flame-retardant. Before you strike your first match make sure you have plenty of that. Healthy tinder includes straw, grass, scraped fibers or husks from trees or dried fruit, lint from your clothing, dry stick shavings, dry pine needles or leaves, a ball of dry toilet paper or newspaper (although when paper is wet, it’s worse than useless), and even sap from pine trees, which burns hot and light. Be sure to collect tinder when traveling.
✓ Kindling: Kindling is the first real fuel to be burned and it consists of thin twigs (pencil-thick at most) and/or wood splitters with an ax or knife.
✓ Fuel: It’s the main fuel for the fire, usually made up of wrist-thick branches or larger branches and even logs if you’re lucky. You can also burn dried animal dung from the ground, as well as natural tar or oil.
Whatever kind of tinder, lighting, and fuel you use, you first light up the tinder, which ignites the ignition, which ignites the fuel.
Understanding fire-making basics
Before you start creating flames or sparks, arrange the tinder and fuel and get it ready to go. One of the main reasons a lot of people are having such a difficult time is poor selection of starter fuels. The following tips will help you create a fire like good:
Watch out for Nature Mother. Make sure that your fire-building site is protected from heavy rain and winds that can extinguish it or make it difficult to start.
Take your time to build your fire. Don’t feel embarrassed. In general terms, the easiest type of fire to ignite is teepee (see next section). Take your time to make a beautiful teepee. Build your fire carefully and attentively to take full advantage of the fact that fire always burns upward, from down upwards: put the lightest, driest tinder at the very bottom· Using the wood you can consider the driest. Wood is dry if it cleanly snaps into your hands. Actually you should hear a very dry snap! When you’re broking it. This type of wood quickly ignites, and it burns well. It is hard to ignite green wood, which is wood which still has a little moisture in it. If you have to work a stick or twig in your hands to break it — or if when you bend it, it holds together by a fiber — then it’s not dry enough.
· Use the thinest kindling possible. Twigs with a thickness of less than 1⁄8 inch (3 millimetres) (thinner than your shoelaces) make the perfect kindling. Make sure you have very dry tinder at the bottom when you build a teepee fire, and then a nice structure of those dry twigs above it. Have an extra pile of very dry lighting next to you to feed the fire as it appears, because when it starts, a fire is very precarious. You want to make sure that you are able to feed it at the right pace to really get it moving.
- Ignite the lowest spot you can with your fire. Fire is always burning upward, so the better the lower you kindle it.
· Blow your fire or fan gently. Fire needs oxygen, and giving it some air is the best way to convert a tiny flame into one big one. That is one of the fire making arts. Put your lips as close as you can to your burgeoning fire, and blow gently. Doing so can make the fire go more than virtually anything else. Be careful not to blow too hard, as doing so may effectively prevent the fire from growing or putting it out. Best of all, is a long, gentle stream of air.
- Fed the fuel. You can smother a burgeoning fire very easily as soon as your fire ignites, feed the flame quickly and steadily, but don’t overdo it; Keep in mind that, unevenly, fires ignite and burn. In places you don’t expect flames may come up. A couple of twigs, well positioned over a burgeoning flame, will get you started.