Basics of Fire Building

Updated: Mar 8

Basics of Fire Building


Fire is essential to any camping outing or survival situation. A Nice fire to cook over, keep you warm, or keep predators away will be an integral part of any wilderness situation. It’s important to understand the basics to help make yourself more successful when afield.




1. Find a dry wind protected area or create one. If the ground is not dry one may create a mound off the wet ground to start making a fire.


2. Gathering fuel. There are three types of fuel needed. The first is tinder. Search the surrounding areas for dry moss, grass, leaves, wood trimmings. If no noticeable tinder can be located, you can shave the inside of dry bark to create stringy pieces of wood for tinder. One of these items or a combination of many of these should be rustled together to form a sort of a bird’s nest for tinder.


3. Next you will want to create or gather kindling. Small sticks and twigs work excellent for this part. If none can be found one can split larger pieces of wood up into pencil sized pieces these inner dry pieces of logs work great. If trouble still arises you can feather stick these pieces to help them catch fire from the tinder bundle once lit.


4. Large pieces of wood or logs are next. This will allow the fire to burn long warm and slow. Start smallest to largest when you are adding large pieces of wood to the fire until a secure fire is established.


5. Remember Fire needs oxygen to burn so please make sure everything is breathable when building.


6. You can prep this fire by setting your tinder in the center of your designated areas. Lay some of the kindling sticks over top of the tinder in a Ti pi or a log cabin pattern. Not too much just enough so when your tinder ignites it can catch the kindling.


7. Keep your larger pieces of fuel near by so these can be added once your kindling ignites.


OK So we have gathered all the needed ingredients now we need an ignition source. The best most basic way to start this fire is by having a nice basic BIC lighter or matches handy. You can light your tinder bundle add kindling appropriately and ultimately your full-sized fuel you have gathered. If a lighter is not available to you there are many ways to light your fire. My second choice would be a ferrocerium rod. These create enough hot sparks to create a coal and ignite that much needed fire. One must scrape down the length of the rod towards the tinder bundle to create a coal and ignite the fire.


When push comes to shove you may have to rely on a bow drill or a fire plow. The first consists of a flexible stick we can tie a string to either end of to create a sort of small bow. Next, we will need a spindle and a plank. Wrap the spindle in the string of the bow and place it on the plank. (create a notch in the plank for your coal to fall out of). Place a leaf under the notch and hold the top side of the spindle with a rock. Begin sawing back and forth until enough friction has been made to create a coal. Add the coal to your tinder bundle and igniter the fire





When there is no string for a bow you may need to rely on a fire plow method. Carve a groove down the center of a plank. Take a branch or spindle and rub it repeatedly up and down the groove until a coal can be created. This method takes more energy then the bow drill but can still be effective when the circumstance calls for it.





Please when venturing out always be prepared and have a plan. A fire can be a delightful piece of entertainment watching the dancing flames or a pragmatic tool for self-preservation. Whatever your need for fire may be, be Prepared.

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