Wilderness Skills > Firecraft


Hunter-gatherers, both ancient and modern consider fire as LIFE. Fire allowed early humans to not only cook wild foods and keep potential predators at bay, but to aid in the migration and eventual exploration of the globe. The ability to make fire is the MOST IMPORTANT skill for all outdoorsmen to own.

In a wilderness survival situation a fire can provide the following:
  • Warmth: Body temperature regulation, staving off Hypothermia, drying out wet clothing.
  • Signaling: A fire at night or a column of smoke can be seen for miles. To produce an effective smoky fire burn green boughs or other green vegetation. Avoid burning poisonous plants (poison ivy & oak).
  • Companionship: A fire can raise spirits like nothing else, improving your mental outlook and attitude. By occupying your mind with the task of fire building, you’re less likely to succumb to panic or fear.
  • Cooking and Water Purification: Cooking wild edibles can make them more palatable, food preservation, boiling wild water, making it potable.
  • Tool construction: Fire can be used in the construction of tools, spears, burn bowls etc.
  • Other uses: Smoke repels insects, fire repels predators, provide light.
Fire Building Tips:
  • Locate fire out of wind, away from overhanging tree branches, against heat absorbing reflective surface, boulders or stacked logs.
     
  • Clear an area at least 15’ diameter, down to soil. And either dig a shallow hole or a ring of rock to contain your campfire.
     
  • Gather three times as much firewood, as you think you will need.
     
  • When building a fire on snow dig down to the soil or construct a platform of green logs.
     
  • Inexperienced fire builders should always start as early as possible in the construction of fire.
     
  • Large bonfires are dangerous; a small fire with fuel the size of your thumb is just as effective, safer and more  manageable.
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