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Outdoor Life - Outdoor life is a column by Mick Bohonis.
2013-05-31 at 11:14

Surviving with fire

What would a camping site be without a camp fire? ­Un­doubt­edly the number one thing we all anticipate when heading out into the wild and pitching a tent or setting up our RV is building the perfect camp fire to roast wieners, marshmallows and consume our favourite beverage.

Walk through any park during the summertime, and I would bet my bottom dollar you would be hard pressed to locate a camp site without a fire brewing at dusk.

Fire is one of man’s sustainable resources and is free if you know what to do. Of course we all know the real outdoorsman can do it without matches or a lighter, right?

Unfortunately, 99 per cent of folks are reliant on some kind of help in the way of igniting some dry wood, whether it’s through the use of gasoline, oil, a disposable lighter, wooden matches or a carbon fire starter; and that’s OK with today’s available gadgets that allow us to do so. I am as guilty as the next guy when it comes to starting a fire. A disposable Bic lighter is often used on my fire building projects.

However, what if you didn’t have these things at your fingertips and had to rely on ancient ways of getting a fire started? Do any of you have a clue where to even begin to start a fire from scratch?

I was a part of this fraternity at one time, however spending a few years in the Canadian military back in the ’80s and 35 plus years in the woods, I have become somewhat familiar with this practice, even though I am still a novice at getting a fire started without the use of any modern assistance, I think if I had to get warm or dry out I could do it.

Two things become apparent when trying to start a fire from scratch, and that’s some kind of dry starting material and dry wood to maintain the fire.

Through experience I have found something as simple as dried grass, dried moss and very dry thin pieces of birch bark are a given when trying to locate a good “starter.”

The old faithful I have tried a time or two is finding a couple of hard pieces of slate or granite you can strike together to create spark. Once again, be patient and find yourself a decent location out of the wind.


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crowbar says:
Thats why I like to save the lint from my dryer and keep it in a waterproof container in my Jeep. Its great for starting fires.
6/4/2013 10:16:47 AM
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