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Fire Configurations

FIRECRAFT: Material Selection, Building a Fire, Fire Configurations

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In the first segment on firecraft we discussed basic fire principles as well as site selection and preparation. In this segment, we will continue to discuss various aspects of fire including the selection of material for tinder, kindling, and fuel, how to build the fire, and we will even share a few fire configurations for your consideration.

FIRE MATERIAL SELECTION:

You need three types of materials to build a fire–tinder, kindling, and fuel. Tinder is dry material that ignites with little heat–a spark starts a fire. The tinder must be absolutely dry to be sure just a spark will ignite it. If you only have a device that generates sparks, charred cloth will be almost essential. It holds a spark for long periods, allowing you to put tinder on the hot area to generate a small flame. You can make charred cloth by heating cotton cloth until it turns black, but does not burn. Once it is black, you must keep it in an airtight container to keep it dry. Prepare this cloth well in advance of any survival situation. Add it to your individual survival kit. Kindling is readily combustible material that you add to the burning tinder. Again, this material should be absolutely dry to ensure rapid burning. Kindling increases the fire’s temperature so that it will ignite less combustible material. Fuel is less combustible material that burns slowly and steadily once ignited.

Fire fuel

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HOW TO BUILD A FIRE:

There are several methods for laying a fire, each of which has advantages. The situation you find yourself in will determine which fire to use.

Tepee
To make this fire, arrange the tinder and a few sticks of kindling in the shape of a tepee or cone. Light the center. As the tepee burns, the outside logs will fall inward, feeding the fire. This type of fire burns well even with wet wood.

Lean-To
To lay this fire, push a green stick into the ground at a 30-degree angle. Point the end of the stick in the direction of the wind. Place some tinder deep under this lean-to stick. Lean pieces of kindling against the lean-to stick. Light the tinder. As the kindling catches fire from the tinder, add more kindling.

Fire Configurations

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Cross-Ditch
To use this method, scratch a cross about 30 centimeters in size in the ground. Dig the cross 7.5 centimeters deep. Put a large wad of tinder in the middle of the cross. Build a kindling pyramid above the tinder. The shallow ditch allows air to sweep under the tinder to provide a draft.

Pyramid
To lay this fire, place two small logs or branches parallel on the ground. Place a solid layer of small logs across the parallel logs. Add three or four more layers of logs or branches, each layer smaller than and at a right angle to the layer below it. Make a starter
fire on top of the pyramid. As the starter fire burns, it will ignite the logs below it. This gives you a fire that burns downward, requiring no attention during the night. There are several other ways to lay a fire that are quite effective. Your situation and the material available in the area may make another method more suitable.

Are you a fire building expert? Share your tips, tricks, hints, suggestions, and recommendations below and join in the conversation!



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