How to Make Fire in the Wilderness
So you’ve decided to take the wilderness challenge and I salute you for that! Setting foot in the wild lands is not like any playtime you do for pleasure as it involves real tasks of survival.
Knowing how to make fire for instance is one of the primary skills you need to develop otherwise you won’t endure in the wilderness. In this article, I will teach you how.
Why set a fire?
There are a lot of situations that require putting some wood on fire. Fundamentally, campers make a bonfire keep them warm during the night. At the same time, you can utilize the fire for boiling water, cooking food, as well as sterilizing your bandages.
In times of emergency, a fire is the most efficient way to signal rescuers for help. The fire and smoke combined can also keep dangerous insects and animals at bay.
The steps to make fire.
Getting excited? Let’s get to the real deal! Here are the steps in producing fire:
Step 1. Collect some tinder
Tinder is anything fibrous, inflammable, and super dry (and I mean super) that could ignite easily when having contact with a spark. Feather down, pocket lint, shredded plant fibers (like cedar, birch tree barks), and dried mosses are great examples.
Other things you can collect as tinder are resin, grass, and some leaves. Resin, which can be found in pine and spruce trees, will burn even if it’s wet.
Well those things themselves are not tinder yet; you need to make them fine first. For instance, you can use your knife to turn barks and dry sticks into powder.
It is important to have an ample amount of tinder in hand so your fire won’t extinguish easily. This is the reason why you should gather tinder at the first place.
You can put them in a plastic pouch and place in your backpack or pocket so you’ll be more confident knowing you have tinder ready at hand.
Ultimately, this also becomes quite handy when there’s unexpected rain or snowfall in your campsite.
The trick here is to collect tinder even before you need it! This means preparation for making fire before you even do the particular activity. That way you only have to make a spark or ignite it to start a fire.
Otherwise, you will be stuck in a dark forest having a hard time finding some tinder which basically deters you from making a fire.
Step 2. Select a proper place for fire.
Of course, you can’t just put any place ablaze. You must first select a suitable area where you can start a fire; this is a very important step.
Choose a spot where the fire can be protected and sheltered against the wind and (if possible) rainfall. An added bonus would be a place where there are a lot of wood supplies nearby.
That way, you don’t have to travel farther for “fuel”.
You should also ensure there is no dry vegetation or anything close that could catch fire; you wouldn’t want to see your name on the headline tomorrow about a massive forest fire. Safety should always be your priority and this includes making sure your fire won’t get out of control.
You should only make fire on a flat shale rock, a layer of stones, or on solid ground. By doing that, you will leave no trace on the ground as well as prevent spreading ground fire in the process.
Step 3. Gather wood.
After you have secured some tinder and found a nice spot, you can start gathering wood. Aside from wood you can use other materials as long as they are combustible and good for you and the environment’s health. This means no plastics or related sorts.
There are surely a lot of flammable woods nearby. You can use your knife to cut small branches if you think you can make use of those. Gather as many as you can or just as needed.
Step 4. Ignite a fire.
This is assuming you have your matchstick with you. Otherwise, you have to find a way to make friction produce sparks in your tinder.
With this fact in mind, you should always keep a box of matchsticks in your pocket and make sure they are waterproof. You can also bring a lighter (which is handier).
You will never know when you will need another matchstick so treat every single one of them like gold. One matchstick is one fire.
1. Now position your wood in a circular manner in such a way their tips meet each other. Imagine a clock with a lot of hands; your arrangement must look like that. Leave a certain space at the bottom center for the tinder.
Make sure the ground where you want your fire to ignite must be absolutely dry. Remember the first step above about finding the proper place to set fire on.
2. Now place a volume of tinder (usually a handful of tinder will suffice) underneath at the center of the woods you have prepared and spread the tinder a little. Lighting your tinder will serve as your “baby fire” which you will use to light the bigger woods.
3. Now prepare one matchstick. Before lighting it, make sure you position your back against the wind because lighting your fire from the upwind side is highly important. This shields the tinder from winds which could hinder its ignition.
An alternative would be to use your jacket or any gear that could protect the fire against the wind. Remember your “baby fire” will be vulnerable to winds so watch out for these elements.
4. When in position, start lighting the tinder with one matchstick. Once it starts burning, use the same match to light the tinder on the other side.
5. Slowly add more tinder while the first ones are ablaze. Kindle slowly and repeatedly until the fire starts to spread to the bigger woods. Continue the fire until it grows.
That’s it! You just made your own fire in the wilderness!