Fired Up

November 16, 2010

Want something that will give light, keep you warm, and help you cook? Get fired up about starting up a fire!

The cold weather makes me yearn for the warmth of a crackling fire. Though most of us long for the fire simply for the ambiance, during an emergency situation having that fire could help you cook, give you light, and keep you warm. Thinking about building a fire takes me back to the days of my youth. I remember trying to hone my fire making skills at girl’s camp. At first the beautiful flames were illusive, but soon with some help and a few extra tools, I was roasting marshmallows and warming my hands by the crackling fire. Just like my girl’s camp days, the time to learn about and prepare for making a fire is before an emergency strikes.

Technology has provided us many options besides a fire to keep us warm, give us light, and help us cook. Nevertheless, this most basic of skills is still one of the most important things for us to learn. Let’s begin with the basics of fire building:

First, determine a safe place to build your fire. Build on dirt or rock, as far from dry grasses and other vegetation as possible. Be sure you have water nearby to extinguish your fire should it get out of hand. You will need three sizes of material to make a great fire. These are calling tinder, kindling, and fire fuel.

Tinder is material smaller in width than a match. Shredded bark and pine needles are examples of tinder. Many fire starters are simply a flint and tinder. You can even find fire starter pellets that you can use as the tinder. They are incredibly handy and can help you get your fire up and crackling! Next you need to gather kindling. Kindling is the small sticks up to the size of your wrist. After the tinder and kindling, you need to gather your wood for the fuel. I prefer to arrange my wood into a tee pee configuration, with the tinder and kindling beneath.

You have a couple of choices when it comes to lighting your kindling. Waterproof matches are especially smart in an emergency along with lighters and flint and steel. I like the idea of having a few options on hand just in case.

To extinguish your fire, simply sprinkle with water and stir the ashes in with dirt. Continue to sprinkle the water until there is no longer steam or hot embers. Be certain it is completely cool before leaving your fire unattended.

Take advantage of the cold winter weather and teach your family how to build a fire. Because with a little know how and a few helpful tools, you can get all fired up!

-Angie Sullivan


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