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To build a fire . . .

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posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 01:30 AM
I'm not interesed in what gadgets you carry with you to induce ignition; I'm not talking about how to start a fire; I'm talking about how to Build one.

Assume that you are out camping with friends; hunting or hiking or whatever would promise an enjoyable week in the woods. You have pre-packaged "space food,". But just now you and 2 friends just caught 5 excellent fish, and you wan to eat them while they are fresh.

Additionally, one of you fell in the river while you were hauling the big monsters out of the water. So one of you is wet, and needs to change into dry clothes and warm up quickly. Also, the wind has picked up and it smells like rain. It's not much above freezing. So you'd like to get your buddy warmed up, get the food cooked, and send everyone on to bed. On top of all that, the ground is damp from recent rains. Not soaked, not soggy, but the underbrush is definitely damp.

Imagine that you cannot find your lighter, or Its almost empty. One of your friends has a dozen or so matches, so you're set.

My questions are:

1. What kind of fuel will you look for, when the ground is damp, and it's getting windy and getting dark?

2. What types of wood or starter will you try to use? Bark shavings? An abandoned bird's nest?

3. What kind of structure do you prefer to build for your fire? Remember, you want to build for warmth and cooking heat, and do so pretty quickly. Do you build a teepee? Or a log cabin of kindling? Do you dig a hole and build a fire down in it?
edit on 13-12-2018 by Graysen because: When I think about you, I scratch myself

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 01:35 AM
a reply to: Graysen

I would dig a small hole. Find some birch bark, pine needles, undergrowth tinder like twigs and such. Finid some larger tinder to dry out while I built a teepee in the hole. Graduate up to larger wood and when things are good and hot, a smaller log cabin fire for cooking. Once done, back to the teepee for warmth and drying clothing etc.

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 02:00 AM
a reply to: Graysen

i wouldnt even bother

forget the fish

put casulaty in dry clothes - then stuff him in sleep bag - with emergency sheltrr over him - pluss candle - and feed him 50gms chocolate

he will be warm in 30 min

set 3rd person to cooking " space food "

i - start erecting tents , tarps // hammocks in best place tpo survive incoming weather

fish will be fine in " just above zero " weather

everyone eats hot - we go to bed and sit out the storm

what we do in morning depends on factors you dont specify

ie - if its fine - and we dont have a dealine - we build fire - and eat fish brekkie - and dry clothes

if we have to make a waypoint - clothes are piut in a bag - and dried " later " - fish may be abandoned

but hey - we has gone beyond OP scope

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 03:07 AM
a reply to: Graysen

When everything is wet and snowy I like to baton the kindling.

I cut a 6' long by 6" thick tree in half once with my knife and mybuddy was speechless.

You just use another branch and tap the spine of the blade through the log like a log splitter

ONce you halve or quarter it, even better, you can take dry shavings from the dry material from the "inside" of the log.

Check out swedish torches too. Made with the same process:

...They are awesome


The Dakota Fire Hole

or a fun one if you wanna show off...

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 05:05 AM
It's probably easier to warm up while naked in a space blanket than it is to do so in a sleeping bag. I'd wrap him in a space blanket and then tell him to climb in a sleeping bag - along with his clothing he is going to put on later so they can warm up with him - you can add the clothing about 5-10 mins later as they will be colder as well and will take longer to warm up the bag.

As for the fire, I'd find some old branches and use a large knife to shave off the wet outside and then make thin chips of the dry wood (if no other dry kindling can be found).

Finding dry kindling can be easy if there are downed trees. Look on the underside of them, they usually block rain from falling. Other options are getting to dry bark on trees or even in holes in trees. you just need to look and you will find something dry.

A good way to dry small material (pine needles, small twigs, etc) is to wrap them in a towel/old tee-shirt and put them close to your body, like around your belly or chest, and keep them with you most of the day. It's not the most comfortable but it will dry them out A LOT over the day.

I always keep some paper (toilet paper, writing paper, news paper, etc) with me for fire as well as something like rubbing alcohol, vasoline and hand sanitizer. All of these are flammable and will start a good fire. The vasoline will burn for some time when spread on something like cotton balls. One cotton ball with petroleum jelly will burn with a strong flame for at least about 5 mins which should be enough time to light even very damp twigs, enough to get some embers/coals to keep something going.

When dealing with a fire and damp wood, the best thing to understand is surface area. The more the better. Surface area can be doubled by splitting a small branch with a knife (use another branch for a hammer) or axe or hatchet. Split it until the size of a pencil if you can.

Stack the split wood around the small fire and place the larger pieces on the ground around the fire. Place the twigs & branches on top of the small fire so the heat will dry the small twigs and they will either catch fire (and drop into the fire) or they will dry much more as they are above the fire. Even placing leaves (even damp) above the fire will help feed it - it will smoke a lot - (mostly water vapor & carbon) but will dry and add fuel to the fire & when they catch it will burn & dry what is surrounding it.

You need to spend a lot of attention on a small fire especially when damp. Don't leave it alone or unattended especially if you have no other soucre to start a fire - it is your life line. Imagine that it is a very sick child/infant that needs attention every second until there is a small bed of coals that can be used to dry other branches.

One last way to find dry wood is by finding a large piece of dry wood, even a branch. Cutting it to 6-12" long and splitting it length wise then into quarters. Then try to split very thin slices off as thin as possible. Once you get a thing slice (think as thin as a shingle) you can then split off long splinters (splints???) about the size of a pencil. All of this is very easy after you get it split into quarters. Doing this with a 2" diameter branch 6"-12" long will give you plenty of wood to start a good fire as it will make coals that can be used to dry and light larger even damp pieces.

If the wood is damp just remember to stack it around the fire (as close as possible, it won't start a run away blaze, don't worry about that, just attend it!) and add the closest pieces as they are needed. Work your way in and add more as you need it to the fire and the surrounding ring. You can even place larger, more damp pieces directly across the fire (resting them on the the other pieces that need to dry) to dry out and even eventually catch on fire.

Do people not really know how to do this? How many of you have never mastered fire?

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 05:33 AM
A very good place to find firewood if you are near a creek, stream, river, lake or beach (even wetlands and swamps!) it to look for drift wood that has beached itself and even wood that is in water can be found to be useful if you can split it open. This even works in the desert where they have flash floods, find a low-spot where water would flow and then look for signs of high water and where plant material would get hung up if there was flowing water. This will be a great place to find lots of dry material in the desert.

The best thing to do is look for the "high water line" which is where lots of debris is left from flooding or tides. If it has been some time since the flood then there is a high probability that there is a lot of dry "clumps" of debris full of all kinds of good stuff for fires and the debris usually collects in large amounts in various spots where it gets hung up and collects more of the small stuff. Over time this drys out and when it rains, it is usually not enough to saturate the entire "clump" or collection of debris, so if you dig down into it, you'll find lots of dry stuff you can use.

There are often large branches that can be used, often too long to be very usable (though you burn them in the middle and feed them into the fire). If you can find two trees close to each other (a "V" tree or a tree with a large rock next to it), you can use this to break the branch by putting it in between and then using the branch as a lever to break it - just push it (while in-between the two trees) against the other tree in a twisting manner until it snaps - the length of the branch really increases the force you apply to the branch - the lever effect.

Lots of this drift wood will have a barren, sun dried look, stripped of bark and it is often smooth. This is what you want to look for. The lighter the color the more dry it should be. A nice light grey/brown to a whitish color is a good sign of being dry. It can be dry on the outside but wet inside if it had been soaking for a LONG time, so you need to check this - you can often tell by weight. It will dry from the outside in, in a natural enviornment.

You need to be careful when digging through these clumps of driftwood and debris. These are good places for small animals to make nests and sometimes snakes will find a home there, especially if close to water. If you have concerns of this, use a longer branch to poke at them to break them up. Once you agitate them enough and break them apart somewhat most animals will make their escape, so you should be fine approaching them. I've only ever found an animal in them once and it was a rabbit, but I have seen snakes near them, not poisonous in my area though.

Be careful if near a body of water, snakes like to sun themselves on the top of fallen trees, rocks, etc, wherever they can spread out, be elevated (if possible), and in full sun. Keep your eyes open and you should be good.

posted on Dec, 13 2018 @ 07:14 AM
Change into dry clothes, put fish in a cooler, drive home.

posted on Dec, 14 2018 @ 12:03 PM
I usually stack kindling (splits ~diameter of a pencil) with their ends in a "V", like the corner of a log cabin. This serves as a windbreak while I get a fire going with tinder in the hollow I've the V. Then I lay larger branches in a tipi shape over the v.

posted on Dec, 14 2018 @ 12:18 PM
Hand sanitizer is one of the best tricks I have seen for starting fires. If you have a shallow depression of some kind, I prefer the bottom of a soda or beer can, fill it with hand sanitizer and build a kindling teepee over it. Of course smaller twigs are best to get started but you can split the ends of larger sticks if you have to. I would elevate the fire on rocks if possible rather than digging down since rain is possible in this scenario. This also helps with air flow to really get the fire going.

On a side note, I would not be as concerned with cooking the fish as getting the wet person into dry clothes as soon as possible and into a shelter of some kind. You can always keep the fish on a stringer if need be or at that temp they may be ok anyway.

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