Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Basics: Fire

     So it has been a little while since I ran the basics of water, so I thought it was about time to run the basics of fire. Fire is perhaps the quintessential symbol of being human and survival. So often it is that image of the caveman creating fire that we often associate as that defining moment when we changed from ape to human. We also often associate the ability to create fire with the ability to survive, because fire is such an important aspect of this.

      So lets start with exactly how fire works. There are three things that you need for fire: heat, fuel and oxygen. Without any one of these three things, your fire is either not going to start or its going to go out.

      To start a fire, especially with any primitive method, the first element of the fire triangle that we start with is heat. Oxygen is already present in the air so we don't have to wory about that. Once we get a fire started however we need to move on quickly to fuel. To keep your fire going you have to give it fuel or the beginning sparks and embers you have created will die.

      That really is all there is too it. As long as you can combine heat, fuel and air together, you can create a fire. However if you are creating a fire, there are other things you want to take into account such as location, materials and the type of fire you are going to use.

     When starting with a fire you should always start first with location. When building a fire you want to take into account a number of different factors. The first being where you building the fire itself. The surface the fire is going to be on needs to be non-burnable surface like rock or dirt. However there should be burnable materials such as branches or grasses nearby that way you have a close source of fuel.

      Other things to keep in mind are how you will extinguish your fire, if it needs to be kept hidden or the possibilities of winds. Wind is the most important perhaps because you want to make sure that wind can't blow your fire onto burnable objects and create a forest fire.

      After choosing your spot, you'll need to gather materials for your fire. For a fire you need a couple of different materials. The first thing you'll want is tinder. This can be anything from dry grass, shaved bark fibers, paper, lint, cotton or other fiberous materials that will catch fire with just a spark.

      After tinder you need first small twigs, small branches and then logs. This way you can start with small pieces of fuel and start adding larger peices as you go to build up your fire.

      After you have your location and your materials your going to need to actually start your fire. There are many different ways to do this. There are specific materials that can be used to start a fire such as matches, lighters, and fire strikers.

      Then there are friction methods many different friction methods that can be used to start a fire. Knowing at least one of these friction methods is good knowledge to have. This way if you don't have a ligher or matches you can still start a fire.
      Different friction methods include:
-Fire Plow
-Bow Drill
-Hand Drill
-Fire Piston
-Fire Saw

      These are the most common friction methods but there are other varieties and methods as well. There are also ways to create fire using batteries, mirrors and other items.

      The last thing your going to want to figure out is the form of fire design you are going to create. DIfferent fire designs will create different sized fires that can be used for different things. Some of the most common fire designs are:

-the teeepee fire
-the pyramid or platform fire
-the parallel fire
-the star or indian fire
-the reflector fire
-the dakota hole hole

      With these basics covered you have the knowledge you need to build a fire. One thing to keep in mind though is that just because you know in theory how to build a fire does not mean that you can just build one whenever you want.

      Practicing is an important part of being able to create fires. Try out different building methods and different forms of fuel. Find which methods work best for you and provide the type of fire you want whether its for heat, cooking or for signalling.

      So get ready some marshmellows and start practicing your fires. That way if SHTF you'll be prepared.



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  2. Hi,
    Read/saw most of the things you posted in a night until the early morning.And I know them all...
    I d love to meet you..

    From Far Away,
    Antalya, TURKEY

    1. Glad your over here reading! Thats great that you already know the basics for fire making. I'm sure lots of people already do, I just wanted to put it out there because you never know who doesn't and could use the information. Hopefully the post was at least able to act as a refresher for the information.
      As for meeting, its been a few years since I've been to Turkey and I don't know how likely it would be that I'll be returning anytime soon. However I always love being able to connect to other survivalists through the internet to share ideas and information.
      Hope you keep enjoying the posts here!

  3. Hi Sara,
    There is a second triangle for fire, or more properly combustion. Time - Turbulence - Temperature. When folks talk about not packing a fire tight they usually mean to allow more oxygen. Another reason is to allow turbulence. With turbulence you get more complete combustion. This means less fuel is needed to get the same amount of heat.

    1. Glad you posted on this Zee-Man. This was a topic that I had decided originally to leave out of fire basics because of the fire triangle will generally give everyone enough of a basic understanding of how fire works that they can start their own.

      However, as you've brought it up, the three T's are important when building fires. Less so for starting the fire itself, and more for the actual efficiency of your fire. I'll make sure to do a follow up post that goes into a little more detail because while I wouldn't consider these aspects to be basics in fire crafting, they are definitely important. I'll make sure to mention these in the next post.

      Thanks for commenting! I hope your enjoying the blog and the posts, and I look forward to hearing from you more in the future!