Fire has been essential to human existence for many thousands of years, whether it is to provide heat to provide warmth, heat for cooking or smoke for a signal fire. Of all the animal life on the planet only man has mastered fire. It is essential to know how to make fire and how to control it. Ultimately your life may depend on it. Fire can be a life sustainer but it can equally be a life taker. Always have respect for fire.
Before you start a fire, any fire, make sure that you have any necessary permits and most of all make doubly sure that the conditions are right. Hot dry days with tinder dry surroundings and wind are recopies for disaster. Also have respect for others, smoke can travel a long way it can both be seen and smelt. Although a smoky fire may be your intention id you are lost in the wild and want to attract attention to be rescued at other times a smoke can give away your location and could have deadly consequences. It has been my experience that neighbors do not like smoky fires and they do little to promote neighborhood bonding.
Do not attempt to experiment with any information presented here unless you are a competent adult and feel fully capable of doing so and have all the necessary means to extinguish the fire once it has served its purpose.
There are a number of ways to create fire. Most of us light a fire using a match or a gas lighter of some sort. What would you do if you desperately need to light a fire and none of these tools were available? Most of us have seen the old Boy Scout trick of vigorously rubbing sticks together but how many of you have actually tried it. More to the point how many of you were successful? Here is a list of ways to make fire with some tips to go along with them.
To build a fire you will need three things, an ignition source, tinder and fuel. Depending on the circumstances you may also consider an accelerant or flame extender and possibly a coal extender.
Batteries and wire wool
Flint & Steel
Friction methods (various options)
Quartz & Steel
Quartz & Quartz
Tinder falls into two categories natural like birch bark and manufactured like paper. You might not think that wire wool makes excellent tinder under some circumstances. A nine volt battery and some wire wool is an excellent way to ignite a fire even in less than ideal conditions.
Bird nets (old ones)
Cat Tail Seed heads
Citrus Fruit Pith (dried)
Clematis Seed heads
Cramp Ball fungus
Dandelion Seed Heads (dry}
Horses Hoof Fungus
Rodent Nests (old ones)
Thistle Seed Heads (dry)
Alcohol Prep Pads
Cotton Wool soaked in Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly
Cotton Wool soaked in Wax
Hand Sanitizer containing alcohol
Hexamine fuel tablets
Potato chips with HIGH fat content
Rubber (from an inner tube)
Wire Wool (for use with a 9v battery)
Once your fire is going you might want to use a flame extender or accelerant.
Accelerants & Flame Extenders
To keep your fire going longer using a coal extender will help.
Charcoal from previous fires
When it comes to fuel most of think of wood however any combustible material can be used if need be. Even a good fuel source may turn out to be useless if it is wet or it is too large. Of course not all wood is equal when it comes to making a fire. Generally all hardwoods burn slower and burn longer than softwoods. Hardwoods also produce more heat than softwoods. Softwoods if cut small enough are ideal for kindling. Although, depending on circumstance, you may not have any choice dry wood is much better than green wood. Green firewood may contain 50% or more water by weigh than dry wood. Green wood produces less heat because heat must be used to boil off water before combustion can occur. Green wood also produces more smoke and creosote than dry wood.
These are all hardwoods these firewood types are easy to burn, produce high amounts of heat and produce little smoke.
These firewood types are easy to burn and produce little smoke.