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Monday, October 18, 2010

Survival: How to build a fire

Build a Fire

Building a fire is the most important task when dealing with survival in the wilderness. Be sure to build yours in a sandy or rocky area or near a supply of sand and water as to avoid forest fires. The most common mistakes made by those attempting to build a fire are: choosing poor tinder, failing to shield precious matches from the wind and smothering the flames with too large pieces of fuel. The four most important factors when starting a fire are spark - tinder - fuel - oxygen.

The most common ways to create spark are:

1. Waterproof, strike-anywhere matches are your best bet. Matches may be water-proofed by dipping them in nail polish. Store your matches in a waterproof container.

2. A cigarette lighter is also a good way to produce a spark, with or without fuel.

3. The flint and steel method is one of the oldest and most reliable methods in fire starting. Aim the sparks at a pile of dry tinder to produce a fire.

4. The electric spark produced from a battery will ignite a gasoline dampened rag.

5. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Next place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder.

6. Allow the suns rays to pass through a magnifying glass onto the tinder.

Dry grass, paper or cloth lint, gasoline-soaked rags and dry bark are all forms of tinder. Place your tinder in a small pile resembling a tepee with the driest pieces at the bottom. Use a fire starter or strip of pitch if it is available.

It is important to keep in mind that smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark, shavings and gasoline, are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel. Gather fuel before attempting to start your fire. Obviously dry wood burns better and wet or pitchy wood will create more smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.

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