Survival Blog: How to make a fire
by Zhang Ron on Jun 06, 2023
The use of fire creates something primal within us. One of the essentials for survival by humans it is used for providing warmth, to light the darkness, for protection from wild animals, to cook food and of course to boil water and make it safe to drink. Evidence for the use of fire by Homo erectus by about 400,000 years ago.
There is always a feeling when around a campfire that connects us to something deep in our past. It also doesn’t hurt to be able to make a solid campfire and cuddle up to a loved one.
So how do we do it?
Firstly we need to know the elements of a fire:
you need to collect your materials
To start a good fire you need a sold amount of tinder. Tinder is something that catches fire easily and burns quickly. Thing like dry leaves, dry bark (birch bark or paperbark), wood shavings, dry grass etc. Something dry and fluffy. Get at least 2 big handfuls.
The next thing you want to collect is a bunch of small sticks or twigs - these will be used to put on top of the tinder once it starts to burn. It’s important these are about the width of your pink finger or smaller. Get 2 or 3 big handfulls
Why kindling? It takes longer for fire to burn though larger logs or branches, if you just put the bigger branches on straight away, there won’t be time for the flame to catch and start to burn. So we add slowly starting with thinner twigs, then once that catches and is burning well you can add the bigger pieces. These need to be dry
3) Bigger Branches
these are the branches that will keep the fire burning. You don’t need to get the biggest you can find - usually the size of your forearm is ok. Get as many as you like to keep the fire going.
Lighting the fire.
- Make sure the fire bed (where you will have your fire) is free from grass or trees or other plant material. This is to prevent it spreading. If you like you can dig down a little to the earth.
- Light your tinder and add it to the centre. once it’s burning well put one handfull of kindling on, you should start to hear a small crackling, make sure there is space for the flame to rise through it. Don’t smother the small flame. Then add the rest.
- one the kindling is lit, you can start adding the bigger branches.
Types of fire
There are many types of fire you can make, some examples below
Putting out your fire
Of course please make sure you always have something to put out your fire completely if it gets out of control and or before you leave the site.
•Ray Mears 'Bushcraft'