Starting a foolproof fire

by Mike
(Indiana)

1) Dig a small depression in the ground 3"-4" deep so the wind doesn't blow your tinder away.

2) Put your back into the wind. Kneel down straddling over the hole if you need to.

3) Put your tinder in the hole, then shave some material from a block of a magnesium fire starter. I use an old "church key" type can opener to scrape the striker. Keep scraping until the sparks catch.

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Cabin fire

by Matt
(United States)

After all the years I have spent in the boy scouts and having them tell you a tipi is the best way to start a fire, I disagree. I do agree that a tipi is a good way to make a fire but, you need to have the time to start it and you need the time to balance every piece precisely just for it to fall down.

I have found that if you make a cabin fire (much like making a lincoln log house) it is much more effective.

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Self Feeding Fire

by Alex Wiser
(Florida)

The self feeding fire is extremely easy to make and burns hot for hours.

#1-To begin with, find about 20 hand fulls of small sticks that are dead. The sticks should only be about 1 foot long. Now find a good tinder bundle that will fit in the palm of your hand.

#2-Stack the wood on top of each other. But, do it in a specific way. Make all of the stacks perpendicular to each other, but on top of each other. Also, make the larger sticks at the bottom, and the smaller at the top.

#3-Now, sit your tinder bundle on top of the wood.

#4-Put an immensely small tipi over the tinder bundle.

#5-Light the tinder bundle without knocking the rest of the wood over. It should light the tipi and the hot coals from that will ignite the wood below. From there, the self feeding fire should burn for at least an hour.

Be careful.

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Pyramid fire

by Stin

Take 2 on the pyramid style fire

Take 2 on the pyramid style fire

It's very effective to lay down 2 layers of sticks beneath the pyramid and then build up the pyramid. Once you've built several levels of the pyramid put your tinder in the center with kindling around it.

Light the tinder, feed it more kindling and close the pyramid up. This fire burns hot and long.

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Build a campfire to meet your needs

by BJ
(wilderness US)

Lakota people always took care to build the type of fire they needed to best suit those needs.

Ex: for a small fire to heat water on the go, drive 4 green sticks vertically into the ground to support your water container. Fill in between area with fluff, tinder, kindling and start the fire...it will burn in a confined area, and be very hot...just what you need to boil that water. The green sticks will not burn during this time.

For a longer burning fire, and in windy areas, use a firepit with a chimney. Dig two pits...one for the fire and one near it for the feed...tunnel under the ground to join the two for the best chimney. If you just want to feed, make the pit and place the long feeder logs into the fire after it is going. Slide them up as needed for a longlasting fire.



I like the firepit with chimney to increase the temperature of the fire...good for baking and longer need fires without worrying about wind causing brush fires or actually putting it out too soon.

I always keep my Magnesium starter and fluff... and make/pack firestarter cubes (tinder bundles,tallow or kerosene impregnated) for times when the wood might be damp and need help drying out to really get going.

Staying aware of tindersources is important...keep a ready firebag at all times.

I also keep cordage and blocks for emergency bowfiremaking.

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Hot bright flame

by Alex
(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Little trick from my years in the military

Little trick from my years in the military

A little unknown trick if you ever require a flame that burns hot and bright and lasts a long time; use knots (the portion of the branch that is attatched to the tree) from pine trees.

The reason for this is that these knots contain higher concentrations of natural pitch. Which in turn is flammable and it can also be used to make tar.

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Fire platform

by Peter .R
(Australia)

When trying to build a fire in wet conditions (providing you had dry tinder, kindling and fuel) this tip is great.



Build up a platform (around 1m x 1m) of sticks with about the diameter of your wrist.

Build up a fire as you usually would without a platform, and by the time you fire has burned through the platform the ground will be dry, and warm for sleeping on.

While it is burning it is perfect for cooking as the platform logs will be half burnt through and the embers will be well protected and plentiful.


Stay tuned for more survival tips

If you are confused there are some great diagrams if you just type in fire platform to google images.

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Campfire Ring

by Jeff

I agree with all the fire starting tips mentioned before. However, I would add that a person should avoid using shale and slate stone in a fire. If they absorb moisture as is typical, steam can build up to the point where the stone will actually explode violently.

The back story is when I was a ranger some campers pulled shale stone from a creek to form a fire-ring. About an hour later while on patrol I heard what I swore where gun shots, a big time no no in this part of the park. I arrived at the site to find the campers saying that their fire ring was exploding.

OK whos been drinking, I thought-just then BANG!!! A piece of shale about the size of a deck of cards goes flying by our heads.
Well, I extinguished the fire no one was hurt but a lesson was learned.


Prepare for your wilderness adventure.

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