Monday, April 13, 2015

You Build a Fire

       It's getting dark. You know you should have met up with the rest of the crew hours ago. You don't recognize any of the landmarks around you. You come to the conclusion you're dreadfully lost in the woods. What do you do? Do you set out to try and find them because you know daylight and supplies are running low? Do you immediately try to find food and water? No, you employ the use of the T.S.T.O.P. method as explained by The Apprentice earlier. And you build a fire.
      A fire will be your best friend. It can provide warmth, bug-protection, wild animal protection, and above all, comfort. Even if it's not cold out, a fire will do wonders. You know you will be safe while you can sit and think about your current situation and the next plan of action. The important thing is to know how to build a good fire, and maintain it.
      Start by evaluating your surroundings. Pick a sheltered spot, away from the wind. You don't want any branches, dead or alive, hanging over the fire site. It would be good to maybe have a bucket of water nearby, in case things go south, but is not absolutely necessary, especially in a survival situation. At least know where a nearby lake or river is just in case. Take stock of any big safety hazards and remove them. You are ready to build.
      First comes the tinder. Anything very dry and small. Ideally, a paper product or the like, but that's rather hard to find in the wilderness. In all our experience, the best natural thing is dead pine needles. Those are in abundant supply and are the perfect size and material. Some other things that work include dead grass, thin bark-shavings, dead leaves, and extremely small pieces of wood. Arrange these in a little pile at the bottom.

     Next comes your kindling. Strips of wood about a foot long or so will do nicely. Now comes how you want to arrange them. There is a lot of ways to do it, but two of the most notable are the tepee or the log cabin. Both work great but are especially good in different areas., however the tepee has been proven to burn a little better, as the flames can naturally travel upward. The log cabin has better structural support and may be better in wind. Either way, start with smaller pieces and work our way bigger. Maybe put a small, small log on to end with and you're ready to light!
        It's important to know what type of match you have. A strike-anywhere match does what it says - you can light it by striking it on rocks or wood or sandpaper or something. A strike on box match can only be lit by striking it on the rough side of its box. Before lighting the match, plan where you want to stick it. Find a few spots that are sheltered from the wind, and deep enough down that they will be able to catch the bigger things. Not too far down, as you don't want to suffocate the flames. Strike and almost immediately go straight to where you want to go. As you light, don't hold the match downward as the flames will eat it up quicker.
       Once it gets going, it's going! Don't blow on it, only try to shield it from the wind. Let it catch, eat up all the tinder, and hopefully climb onto the kindling. When it looks mature enough, you can add a big log.

      It is important to know how to maintain a good fire. Every once in a while, (it depends on the size of the fire), add another log. Fires are hungry animals that constantly need food. When they burn down and need a little boost to get going, blow on coals until the wood ignites. When you are ready to put the fire out, water. Don't try anything else, it could make things worse. Water always puts fires out.
       Hopefully, you build a fire, stay the night, and meet up with your group again in the morning. Such was the case in The Sleepover post, again by The Apprentice. May you use this guide in whatever adventures lie before you... or, in the words of Apprentice, Don't get lost. That would work, too.


-The Ranger

2 comments:

  1. I put my fire inthe wood stove...
    Great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It works for all types of fires. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete