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Making Fire


Before proceeding, please review Important Disclaimers about the information, resources & links contained in this website. The information provided below is for basic reference only and is not intended to be professional instruction.

Fire serves many roles in wilderness survival. Fire provides light and warmth and is essential for cooking food and purifying water. A good survival kit should contain all of the necessary items to start a fire. You should always add waterproof matches, a butane lighter and paper to your survival kit.

Using manual friction techniques to start a fire from scratch is nearly an impossible task for most novices. If you would like to learn about these techniques, consult Chapter 7 ("Firecraft") of the U.S. Army Survival Manual.

The following are more realistic ways to start a fire:

  • Matches
  • Butane lighter
  • Striking two stones together next to dry twigs and grass
  • Using a magnifying glass (or any convex lens) to focus the sun's rays onto dry twigs or paper

For tinder use:

  • Dead grass
  • Dry twigs
  • Dead tree bark
  • Dry moss
  • Evergreen needles
  • Paper
  • Clothing

To start a fire:

  • Pile your tinder material tepee style.
  • Leave enough room between the tinder to allow oxygen to pass (remember: oxygen is the fuel that allows a fire to burn).
  • Light the tinder in multiple places.
  • Rub the tinder with candle wax to prolong the fire.

DO NOT burn poison oak or other poisonous plants.

For more detailed information about fire making, see Chapter 7 ("Firecraft") of the U.S. Army Survival Manual.



 

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