Understanding Fire and FireBuilding

Understanding the Basic Principles of Fire

Improving Your Chances of Survival.

Fire can help you in a wide range of ways. It can help you to boil water to purify it. Likewise it can make food more palatable by allowing you to do outdoor cooking and help you to get enough nourishment. It can also keep you warm and dry in inclement weather. To build a fire, it helps to first understand the basic principles of a fire. Fuel, does not burn directly. When you apply heat to a fuel it produces a gas. This gas, combined with oxygen in the air burns.

The concept of the fire triangle is a very important one to help you to construct a fire and to keep it burning. The three sides of the triangle represent air, heat and fuel. Firefighters are taught that the fire triangle is their friend. Of those three items necessary, if you remove any of those, the fire will go out. The correct ration of these components is very important for the fire to burn at its greatest capability. The only way to learn this ratio is to practice!

Essential Precautions When Using Fire
Fire is a very powerful tool. It goes without saying though that just like any tool, there’s a down side. The use of fire in an emergency situation still requires that the user take some basic precautions. Fire, although used for many things, is dangerous under the wrong conditions. Used incorrectly fire can cause severe burns, destroy your equipment or start a forest fire. For these reasons it is important to consider the site where you place your fire.

Before you start to lay the fire, dig the hole or whatever you’re going to attempt, consider these questions about your fire:
Is it protected from the wind?
Is it suitably placed in relation to your shelter?
Will it concentrate the heat in the direction you desire?
Is there enough fuel in the area to sustain the fire?
Will starting a fire at this location risk a forest fire?
Is anything in the area going to cause a problem and if so, is it movable?

Prepping Your Fire Site
If you are in a wooded or brush covered area you must:
Scrape away the surface soil from the spot you have selected.
Clear a circle at least 3 feet in diameter so there is little chance of the fire spreading.
If possible construct a fire wall using logs or rocks.
This wall will help to reflect or direct the heat where you want it.
It will also reduce flying sparks and cut down on the amount of wind blowing into the fire.

Fire Building Material
You will need three types of materials to build a fire;


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.
It is best to prepare this cloth well ahead of any survival situation and add it to your 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 fires temperature so that it will ignite less combustible material.
Fuel is less combustible material that burns slowly and steadily once ignited.
It need not be completely dry, but should be slightly seasoned.
Green, live wood will burn hotter and will pop. Stand clear.

Control your fire by keeping a bucket of sand or water nearby in order to back the fire down if you need to do so.

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