Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't Freeze Your Ass Off or Starve.

No matter where you live, when the Z.A. hits, you'll need to know how to build a fire. We're going to explore several ways to build a fire, but all have the same beginning. We'll cover this first, then move on to methods to get your fire going.

Materials -

Your fire is only as good as the materials you are burning. We all know wood burns, but if you just start throwing big ass logs on a tiny spark, you're screwed. You might get lucky if you have something combustible soaking the wood, but who is going to carry a ton of gasoline, kerosene, or alcohol on them? (Hint- those that do are going to be really slow and top of the zombie buffet)

You're going to need something small and light to get your tiny fire going, these are called Starters. A lot of people advocate dryer lint, but that all depends on the lint composition. Man made materials in clothing are often fire retardant. Your infant fire isn't going to get very far if your lint is collected from your typical household. Even regular cotton clothing often has fire retardant chemicals these days. Starters should be made from soft, light material that catches fire easily. Test your preferred started before ever depending on it in a survival situation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly
  • Old newspaper. Fold into tiny squares. Shred before putting under wood
  • Wood shavings. Not sawdust.

What ever you use, place it under thin branches, then place thicker wood on top. A loose stack works best to allow air to feed your fire. All wood should be dry - use dead wood that has fallen from trees. Green wood will burn, but slow and with a lot of smoke. That can come in handy for keeping insects away, but can draw unwanted attention.

Building the Fire:
Place your starter on a bed of tiny branches that have been placed in a criss-cross fashion. It will look somewhat like a tic-tac-toe board. Make the branches have 3 to 4 layers if possible. On top of the starter, put a small pyramid or 'tee-pee' shape of more tiny branches. Leave an opening to reach the starter, about 4 inches wide (enough for your hand to fit in). Arrange another short 'tee-pee' shape around the first with thicker branches.

Light the starter with your lighter, match, firesteel, or focus your magnifying lens on the starter until it catches. If you need to feed small branches to the fire, go ahead, but use care. Don't bury your infant fire and smother it! Once the fires catches well, you can start putting larger branches on.

To douse the fire, use dirt. Don't pour water on the fire because the water can evaporate fast, leaving you with a face full of scalding steam and a fire that jumps back to life (sort of like a zombie fire. Arrrrrgh.)

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