Why Build A Fire?
In the world of outdoor adventure, the ability to make fire is one of the core skill to survival. I certainly do not hope to be in a life and death situation in any near future. However, it is relevant to learn about fire making as a camp fire can bring in tremendous benefit in your camping life.
There are many uses of fire. During survival, fire is important as it can be used as a light source, keep warm, to keep wild animals away, cook meals and dry your wet clothing.
Apart from these survival benefits, whenever there is a camp fire, it has almost always helped to lift and make the spirits of campers better. There is a certain draw that a campfire attracts people. People generally feel delighted to see a camp fire and love sitting around it to chill and chit chat.
How To Build A Fire?
Before starting a fire, you will first need to gather the materials used to make and maintain a fire. They are tinder, kindling and fuel.
Tinder – A small fire starting material that will ignite easily with a spark. The most common form in tropical Malaysia rainforest will be dry leaves. In dry season, you can easily find them by picking them up from the ground. It is absolutely important that you only collect leaves that are dry, moist or wet leave will give you limited success in starting your fire. Dry leaves will have this “crispy” sound when you crush them into smaller bits. In wet condition, you can try to find dry leaves under overhanging rocks or logs. Other forms of tinder can be thin strip of bark.
Kindling – A medium size material that will catch flame from the tinder easily. The most common form I’ve used are dry twigs. You can find them on the ground beside branches or trees. Dry twigs are easier to break as compared to wet twigs. Once you have broken a twig, you can touch or examine the intersection to see if it is dry on the inside. If a twig is only wet on the outside, you can use a knife to shave off the outer layers. Other forms of kindling are sticks or larger piece of bark.
Fuel – A large piece of material, usually wood or logs that will keep the fire sustainable. The wood or log should be as dry as possible and avoid soggy or rotten wood. If you have an axe, it is useful to cut the wood down into smaller manageable size for your camp fire.
Tee Pee Fire Formation
The Tee Pee formation is a popular fire starting method. First, tear & crush the dry leaves (tinder) into small pieces to form a shape of a ball. Ensure the ball has a small opening to stick a match stick into it. Next, surround the twigs (kindling) over the ball in a Tee Pee arrangement. Light a match stick into the ball opening. The fire will start to burn the dry leaves and eventually the twigs catches fire. Once the fire is burning from the twigs, you can gradually add piece of wood (fuel) to the fire. Always add dry wood first and only moist wood when the fire is sustainable.
Do respect local laws, park laws and safety before making a fire. Always have at convenience means to extinguish the fire.