Saturday, February 03, 2007

How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness

One of the most important things to know when venturing out into the wilderness is how to start a fire. It can be your key to survival if you are ever lost, especially during the winter. If your clothing becomes wet, it might be the only way you can dry your clothes, and without it, you will loose body heat about 25% quicker than if you were dry. But what if you are without matches or a lighter? Would you be able to start a fire if your life depended on it? Well, here are some basic tools you could create sparks and build a fire, especially if you lack common ignitors. Once you have sparks landing on your kindling, cup your hands around it and blow gently to fuel the smoldering embers.

Tinder and Kindling

  • Birch shavings are one of the best natural sources, and easy to burn.
  • Cedar shavings, twigs, and dry grasses also work well.
  • Plan ahead and dip cotton balls in Vaseline and store them in a film container or other waterproof airtight container.
  • A tampon - believe it or not - can be used for several fires when torn into smaller pieces.
  • Paper, small twigs, bark, wood shavings, and gasoline are all flamable, cloth, lint, some are more flamable than more than others.

Create Sparks to Ignite fire

  • Steel and Flint - Strike the flint against the curved steel, aiming your sparks at your dry kindling until the tinder ignites.
  • Quartz, agate, or jasper rocks can also create sparks in the same way as steel and flint when struck with the back side of a pocket knife blade.
  • Remember, your best bet for fire is a lighter or matches. Matches can be waterproofed by dipping them in nail polish. Bring them in doubled plastic zip-locking bags.
  • If you are stuck with your car nearby, use the gasoline to dampen a rag, and produce sparks using the car battery.
  • Concentrating the sun's rays through a magnifying glass can produce a small heated dot, which can then start a fire. Move the magnifying glass up and down or tilt it to concentrate the rays into the smallest dot possible, the smaller the dot, the hotter and more concentrated the rays will be.
  • Empty lighters can create sparks.

Practice and Preparation

It would be very wise to try a few of these on your own, before having to depend on learning it in the wilderness. The more prepared you are, the better your chances for survival become. It never hurts to build a fire once or twice using any of the above materials, and see how well you do, and how fast you do it. Don't get caught outdoors without at least one of the items listed below, or you could find yourself in a bad situation.

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