Fires - ScoutHelp

Out of all the survival skills you need to master, "fire making" is the most important. Why?

A fire will give you warmth when it's cold, chilly, and downright freezing outside. A fire will provide you light during darkness so you can see to do other things. A fire will allow you to cook your meals and boil water so you can consume them safely. A fire will dry out your clothes when they've become wet so you won't get sick. A fire will provide a way to signal for help, both, during darkness and daylight hours. A fire will protect you from wild critters and help keep the "boggy man" away at night too.

TO CREATE FIRE

You need 3 x elements - heat, fuel, & oxygen, and in sufficient quantities and correct ratios too. Because if you use too much of one and not enough of the other(s) you'll produce either: no fire, too much fire, or a smoking fire.

TINDER

This is the primary material used to get a fire going and consist of a very dry, thin, light, airy material that is very sensitive to heat and will ignite with the 'touch of a spark.' And according to other survival sites and books, can be dry grass, leaves, pine needles, shredded bark, cattails, and other weeds and plants that produce a very fine, dry, 'hairy' material.

WHEN SELECTING A FIRE SITE

Choose a location where there's plenty of wood so you don't have to wander far to gather it. And if it's windy or raining, either select a place that'll provide protection against these elements or make a windbreaker out of rocks and/or logs. Check above to make sure there are no low hanging dead tree branches that could possible catch on fire due to flying sparks. And the exact spot where you intend to build the fire, clear the ground of flammable material (dry grass, leaves, etc) and either dig a shallow hole or make a circular wall out of rocks to help keep it under control. And if the ground is covered with snow, clear some away or make a platform out of green/wet logs so your fire won't sink and go out.

PRACTICE & PATIENCE

Is the key to learning how to make a fire, plus + practice, practice, and more practice and lots of patience. And if you practice making them in all types of weather and terrain conditions when your life 'doesn't' depend on it, you will learn to anticipate what difficulties to expect and how to overcome them, and thus becoming a 'master fire maker.' Maybe not right away, but eventually.

Fire Safety Badge

Fire Making PDF

Firelighting: An overview of methods and materials. scoutingresources.org.uk

Darren Dowling