Do you know how to start a fire? I'm not saying, have you ever started a fire? If that were the case I'd be the first one to raise my hand! (I once pre-heated my oven after accidentally dropping a plastic spatula inside! - don't ask) But I digress.
What I’m referring to, is making fire for survival without the aid of matches or a lighter.
Be forewarned, starting a fire will require every ounce of patience you have and then some. It’s not like at home where you ‘flick your bic’ (or whatever brand you flick) and presto your candle is lit.
There's lots of ways or methods to making a fire, however with all of them you will need some tinder (little pieces parts of dried organic matter, to make a small nest to light.) This could be made up from wood shavings, dried grass, lint, or small twigs. You will also need some bigger twigs, sticks, wood or things made of wood that can easily be used to burn for your fire.
Let's talk methods. The first option is with a magnesium and flint block. If you have one, grab it out of your emergency bag and we'll make a fire together.
Take your knife and scrape a pile of magnesium shavings onto the tinder and then strike a spark off the flint with your knife.
The magnesium will hopefully ignite and start a flame in your tinder. This is where the patience part comes in. Most of the time the magnesium will not ignite on the first attempt - or even the second or third. But don't give up keep striking. As with everything, it takes practice.
Once you see that glorious glow of ember and the tinder begins to smoke, gently blow into the tinder until the fire catches, then place it down into your wood pile.
Now, if it happens to be sunny and you don't have a magnesium and flint block, you can use a magnifying glass or if you don’t have one, look around for a piece of broken glass or even your eye glasses – anything that is reflective of the sun.
With your tinder and wood already gathered, take the glass and angle it with the sun over the tinder. It will eventually begin to smoke. Like with the flint, you can gentle blow on the tinder to help it burn and then place it in the wood pile.
If you can’t find glass or don’t have a flint block hopefully you have a radio or flashlight in your emergency bag. Remove the 9-volt or the couple of "D", "C", or "AA" batteries from the device. Again, have your tinder and wood ready. Oh, and you will also need a piece of steel wool...
…okay, let me just stop here for a minute. After reading this if there is anything mentioned so far that you do not have in your emergency bag you may want to write it down so you can add them. Nuf said ...
Now, back to fire starting.
Pull off a piece of the steel wool and kinda pull it apart keeping it together - just making it loose. Touch the steel wool to both charges on the 9 volt battery or stack two of your "D", "C", or "AA" batteries and touch the steel wool to each ends, the steel will start to burn.
Place the piece of steel wool on your tinder to light it and then place it in the wood pile.
As in all situations, things do not always go as planned, and for some reason you may not be able to get to your emergency bag. If this is the case, there is still a method you can use to make fire.
Find yourself a stick as straight as you can and make a point at one end (this is where the knife will once again come in handy – but if you don’t have one just scrape the end of the stick on something rough to make a point).
Now look for a flat piece of wood (if you can't find one use a tree bark). Cut a little groove in it.
Place the stick between your two palms and position the point of the stick into the groove of the wood (you can actually put a little tinder in the groove.)
Rub your hands back and forth, twisting the stick really fast - making sure that the stick and wood stay in contact.
After a while (sometimes a lon-nnnggg while), the wood will begin to heat up and make a little ember.
Once you see the ember of the tinder, blow on it and put it in the bigger nest of tinder and then into the wood pile.
So there you have it!
- Survivor Jane
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