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How to Make a Fire

Knowing how to make a fire is one of the best survival tools a person can have.  A fire provides warmth, light, and comfort to a person in any environment. Whether you’re on a camping trip with the family or a week long backpacking trip, knowing how to make a fire is one of the best survival skills one can possess.

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In any outdoor situation you should always prepare to have two or three efficient ways of making a fire. There are two methods of  ignition (primitive and modern) that can be used to make a fire. Both have been proven to work in any situation.  These two methods provide the initial heat required to start a fire, but both need proper tinder in order to start burning.  There are many different modern and primitive ways to start a fire, and here are some of the more common methods.

How to Make a Fire – The Two Methods

Modern methods – use modern items and technology to ignite a fire.

Matches:  This is one of the most common ways in which to start a fire. This method is very simple and easy to do.  Simply striking a match quickly and firmly against a striker pad is simple enough, but having waterproof matches and storing them in a water proof casing is a smart precaution to have.

Battery:  This is a simple, but often forgotten method to making a fire. However, it can only be used with certain types of batteries.  Simply attaching a wire, or steel wool, to each terminal of the battery should generate a spark hot enough to ignite your tinder.

Convex Lens:  This method is limited to warm, sunny days. However, the tools needed for this method can be found in gear such as cameras, binoculars or a magnifying glass.  Using the lens of the item to concentrate rays of light into your tinder can be a slow process and require some patience.  The angle of the lens and air flow can also effect the time at which the tinder will ignite.

Primitive methods – use items solely found in nature.

Flint and Steel: This is one of the quickest ways of making fire by creating a spark using a primitive method. It also only involves a piece of carbon steel and flint (or another hard rock). Striking the two together will create sparks, but this process is difficult and requires practice to catch the sparks in the tinder and getting them to ignite.

Hand Drill:  In order to build a fire using a hand drill, you must start with a soft base of wood (with a notch in it) and a drill, which is a straight slender piece of wood that fits into the notch.  Quick rotation and downward pressure of the drill creates a hot enough ember in the base of the wood to start a fire.  This method takes practice, but once properly learned, it is an effective method for making fire.

Bow Drill:  This method is very similar to the hand drill in concept and requires many of the same materials. However, it also requires with the addition of two more elements.  A bow is added to eliminate friction and rotation of the hands. Also, a socket is added, which is used to create pressure and create stability for the drill.

Learning how to make a fire can be a difficult process, especially using the primitive methods. They may seem simple, but are exhausting and require much practice and patience.

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