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Building a Survival Fire

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 3

This article will describe how to start a fire with a match. It's harder than it sounds. This article is designed for if you ever find yourself without a lighter, but with a couple of matches. It's a common exercise for cubscouts.

Things You Will Need

*One Match
*Torn Cloth, or other very dry material like paper.

Step 1

It may sound easy to start a fire with a match, but sometimes it can be difficult, Especially if you only have one match. If you find yourself in this dire predicament follow these rules and you'll have a fire going.
First try and find a material that will catch flame very quickly. Depending on your location and resources this could different materials. The goal is to create a small ball of something highly flammable. Here are a few list of a few materials that could be used:

"Peach Fuzz,"
At the center of some low lying Palm frond trees there is a kind of growth locally called "peach fuzz." This works very well as a starter and highly available in the South.

Leaves with a high oil,
content such as pecan trees, or other nut trees can work well. You need to however crush the leaves to make a ball for them.

Light Cloth or paper,
Perhaps a handkerchief or napkin, a material that is very dry and light will probably burn better. Materials that are torn or cut with rough and loose fiber may also help a fire to catch.

Step 2

After you've gathered the starter material into a ball, gather twigs of all varying sizes *including very small with the smallest dozen or so half the width of your pinkie.

Begin creating a "teepee" surrounding the lighter substance with the smallest twigs. Leave a small opening for the lit match to enter.

Continue laying slightly larger twigs in the circle over the smaller ones so that the twigs gradually grow out in size. As you do this try and leave a hole at the top of the teepee for the smoke to escape. The fire will burn the smaller twigs first and then move onto the bigger twigs.

Take your time with this process. The starter material will NOT burn for very long. Therefore you need the smallest twigs to keep your fire alive long enough to begin burning larger material.

Step 3

Hold the Match Properly, pointed angled down so the fire burns agianst the wood. Do not let the wind blow your flame out. Remember this is all you have.

Place the match into the hole you have left open for the starter material. When the Material catches the smoke should travel out from the top hole of the "teepee."

Have your reserve bundle of twigs of various sizes ready once you light the fire and feed it to the fire. Do NOT through a piece of wood or material onto the fire that it is not ready for, this will smother the fire out.

If you have any suggestions for improving this article, leave a comment and I will do so accordingly. For more information on starting survival fires please check the works sourced list.
*Despite the works sourced, the majority of this article was derived from personal experience. Other fire starting techniques provided through the works sourced pages is verified. Use carefully and at your own risk. Always take proper precautions when starting a fire.

Works Sourced

Survival Fire Making. Web. 06 Apr. 2010.

"Wilderness Survival: Firecraft - How to Build a Fire." Wilderness Survival: Free Info Covering All Aspects of Survival. Web. 06 Apr. 2010.

"Wildwood Survival - Fire." Wildwood Survival - Wilderness Survival, Tracking, Nature, Wilderness Mind. Web. 06 Apr. 2010.



Tips & Warnings

* Remember to always gather more wood than you think you will need. Make it five times bigger than what you think you will need. If you want the fire to last through the night it will take a lot of wood depending on how big you want the fire to be.

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Comments

Apr 13, 2010 11:42pm
Sookie
Great article, lots of good information.
Jul 16, 2010 12:52pm
HealthFitnessTips
Remembering wind is essential. I've had matches blow out too many times. When you only have one, you need to be very smart with it. Great step by step process to successfully start a fire.
Jun 1, 2016 4:24am
FlaBella
I love this article. I am a cub scout leader and haven't had to do this yet, but I'm sure it's coming!!
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