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How to build a fire 'On Top' of the snow.

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posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:13 PM
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ideally you want to dig down until you get to dry ground but what if you don't have an E-tool or something else to dig with? not so easy now when you consider when the snow melts the water is going to do it's best to put out your fire.

So lets just assume you don't have a trashcan lid or metal snow saucer to use as a base. In that case you'll want a nice big log 4' inches around min, or you can use a couple three pieces of 4x4 lumber.

you don't need a base as big as this one... but don't build it so small it just melts itself straight down into the snow.

Don't think of this as the base for your fire...Think of it as a kind of boat that will float your fire up and out of the melting snow... and this is where you place your kindling, wood shaving, fire starter.

Collect as much fire wood as you can before you start because one it get going you'll have to work fast to keep up.

as for kindling you'll want to start off with a stack at least as thick as your forearm. the most common mistake I see when people start a fire is not enough kindling, wood shavings, etc. stacking progressively larger pieces on top. Don't smother leave air space and carefully add more wood so as not to spread the coals/embers away from the base.

okay, so that part was simple right. just like building a fire in the summer...well sort of...A fire built in a pleasant spring meadow isn't going to start sinking the way a fire will when it's built on snow.

but that's not such a bad thing if you pay attention.

As your fire burns it's going to create a bowl shaped depression in the snow, obviously... water will fill the bottom... as the hole becomes bigger the sides will melt and refreeze turning to wet ice that acts as a reflector for the heat... the reason for using a wood base is wood floats and if it's floating on ice cold water it'll take a very long time to burn through your base.

I know this all sounds like common sense right?

And you would have thought people would know to drip their sinks to keep their pipes from freezing in subzero temps too, but tens of thousands of them didn't.




posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:19 PM
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habks for sharing. But in windy environement with snow ill stick to my dakota fire hole.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:22 PM
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My electric log splitter won't split wood that long. I do have a nine horse jonsered chainsaw and a portable chainsaw mill though
A little heavy to start carrying around with me though so I guess I will just shovel out the firepit in the back yard if I want to do this..

Better yet, I'll go put another chunk of wood in the wood cookstove, the buzzer is going off right now. I've got to make some shortcakes in the oven today, having strawberry shortcakes tonight



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:25 PM
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Golantrevize
habks for sharing. But in windy environement with snow ill stick to my dakota fire hole.


Sure, if you got the time... or prepared in advance...
I wrote this going with the assumption that a person has no backcountry skills or finds themselves in deep snow...

I'm not trying to teach anyone here how to be a mountaineer just imparting a simple skill... like dripping a sink...that can keep them alive when the chips are down

I live by the Kiss... 'Keep it simple stupid" ... fewer details means the less I have to worry about forgetting


edit on 10-1-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by HardCorps
 


thanks for posting......good simple advice....never know when it wll come in handy, especially for those in the freezing part of the usa!



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:41 PM
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HardCorps

Sure, if you got the time... or prepared in advance...
I wrote this going with the assumption that a person has no backcountry skills or finds themselves in deep snow...

I'm not trying to teach anyone here how to be a mountaineer just imparting a simple skill... like dripping a sink...that can keep them alive when the chips are down

I live by the Kiss... 'Keep it simple stupid" ... fewer details means the less I have to worry about forgetting


edit on 10-1-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)


Keep It Simple Stupid.... then if you live by that motto, why not say to people 'if you have wood splitting capability, you can make a way to clear enough snow to make a fire in a proper decent way.

Can chop 4 inch plus logs in four? that means you have an axe. Got an axe? well one half then gives you a good flat snow moving / digging tool.

Never build a sinking fire, ever. Why? because it'll rob you of vital heat, and not only melt the snow below the wood but the surrounds as well. ten minutes digging or hours less warmth? I'll get digging cheers.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:46 PM
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reply to post by HardCorps
 


Very cool...reminded me of a post I seem to recall being on here but can't find it now. It was on a Swedish Fire Torch...can be used for heat and cooking and pretty darn easy to make....I even tried it after I first read about it and it worked great. Here is the video:




posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:53 PM
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reply to post by HardCorps
 


If the snow is deep (assuming that is why it has to be on top of the snow) once the fire was producing heat it is going to heat the snow below the log bed. Would the bed not become unstable and possibly spill your fire into the melted snow below? It takes a lot of work to split those logs like that maybe more work than it would be to just dig an area out. If it is glacier, your not likely going to find much wood around.

Interesting but I don't really see it being practical.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by HardCorps
 


This is a great idea. Personally I have used the bark of a downed fir tree to make a fire on. It works on the same idea, but this way you're doing it is a little better since it doesn't matter what kind of wood you can get.

My only issue with this is what happens what the wood base burns up? With the bark it just smolders. I've seen a method similar to yours, but they pile dirt on the wood to maintain the platform (honestly though this was a course on jungle survival and the platform was about keeping a fire going in a tree)



edit on 10-1-2014 by Guyfriday because: Yes I did read all of your post.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 01:01 PM
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I think the naysayers are missing the bigger picture. Ya don't need a woodsplitter, axe, etc..

In an emergency situation you never know when you'll stumble across someone in need of some quick heat, a need for a quick signal fire, or other situations. Building a "raft" from sufficiently thick and long wood can give one a base to get a fast fire going. Once up and running you're free to dig a proper fire hole, occasionally stopping to add a bit of fuel to the current fire. When finished you'll already have hot coals you can transfer to the proper pit to build something more permanent. A "raft" is a very viable solution if the need for a quick fire in snowy conditions arises.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 01:09 PM
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This works well. Also can be used on a stump.

Pine cones are great for starting a fire.
edit on 2-9-2010 by SPYvsSPY because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 01:18 PM
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I dunno I think if you have the ability to split wood you could probably find some ground.

What about using rocks instead of split wood?



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 02:50 PM
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A base is helpful but I just want to add that it is a lot of extra work and not necessarily a mountain worth dieing on. About every 5th or 6th transect I get done quickly enough that I have to make a fire on the snow to keep warm enough while I wait for the helicopter to pick me up. I generally don't take the time to build a base, even in very deep powdery snow. It is often so cold that you just don't have time to get fancy like that. It is usually much quicker to clear some snow away (which acts like a shelter as well) and just build the fire a bit bigger if necessary. Often I end up in burn forests too, and it is so much work just to gather wood that you wouldn't have any for a base.

That being said I highly recommend a base if you have very poor tinder or kindling supplies or if you have to keep the fire very small. A base can be difficult to fab if you don't have the proper tools for it. In my situation I cannot afford the weight of an axe and or saw. When I have to build a base I generally don't bother splitting the wood.


edit on 10-1-2014 by dainoyfb because: of typos.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 06:19 PM
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I was taught to make a fairly wide kindling fire where I would want my shelter and fire to be. This is a less calorie intensive way of digging a snow hole. The ground down there isn't the dryest thing ever,though, and I've done what you have here on mud. More stable.

It's not hard to split logs like that. It's all about having the right tool for where you are (ontario SP8 is my fireplace tool). They don't even have to be hardwood. Rotten logs work fine. It all burns in the end.



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 06:29 AM
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Thanks for that, we don't get snow where I live but we do get snow in Australia at times, hadn't thought about the fire sitting on top of snow melting a hole.

How to build a fire where I live at the moment: 1) gather some dry grass, should be within a few feet of you. 2) Strike a match. 3) Run and try not get caught in the firestorm you just created.


Or operate a chainsaw on some wood
Or drive your car through some tall grass
Or throw a cigarette butt out your window
Or think unhappy thoughts for long enough

It is so dry and full of fuel at the moment and we are having extremely hot windy days with very low humidity.



posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 10:16 AM
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I live in North Texas. We get ice more than snow.
I figure, I've got a good idea of how to survive here so I get schooling in how to survive other climates in case I have to live in them unexpectedly.
The best gear weighs nothing and fits in a tacti-cool pocket of your brain.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 11:12 AM
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Okay, let me make a couple quick comments... First I started off by saying, "ideally you want to dig down to a dry base"

ideally... but...

the two biggest ski areas closest to where I live are Wolf Creek reporting a 60+ base and Telluride reporting a 52 base...

sixty inches... that's four feet deep snow... Do you have any idea how hard it is to dig a four foot deep pit when your cold and tired? cold wet and tired?

sometimes digging a fire hole simply is not practical... other times you simply don't have the time... FYI in the above photo the base was made long to give a person a dry place to sit, thaw out and change socks or just catch their breath while warming up. I was using the "Keep it simple" method assuming said person is caught in snow country unawares or finds themselves in a freak 100 year event snowfall...

But if you want a sneak peek at what real Ski Mountaineering - Light, Fast, Safe is like... click the link for an article that lightly touches on the people gear and tech we use here in real alpine back country

edit on 14-1-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)




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