Fire Starter Survival DIY

Fire Starter Survival DIY
A survival situation will almost always warrant a fire, even if you are in the middle of the desert. Cold nights and the need for food will require heat and an ignition source. Although many people carry matches and lighters, there are other ways to start a fire using more rudimentary setups. It is a good idea to be well acquainted with several ignition sources and their uses.


Difficulty: Moderate

Making a Survival Fire

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rocks
  • Tinder
  • Kindling
  • Knife (optional)
  • Firewood
  • Flint/steel, matches, lighter or magnifying glass
Step 1
Build a small fire ring with rocks. Create a depression in the ground 4 to 6 inches deep and line the top with the rocks to keep wind from blowing out your fire.
Step 2
Collect any dry tinder that you can find. Some of the best ideas for tinder are shredded bark from cedar trees, shredded dry fungus (not mushrooms) found on dead logs and the sides of trees, dead grass, and dry mosses and lichen from tree trunks. Use the driest material and make sure it is finely shredded to start the fire easily--the tinder should ball up into a wad not larger than 4 inches in diameter.
Step 3
Find dry kindling--sticks and twigs that snap easily in your fingers. You can use a survival knife to cut the wood into more combustible pieces. Dry kindling should be smaller than 1/4-inch in diameter and not longer than 6 inches.
Step 4
Get larger logs that will be used to keep your fire burning. Break large logs into pieces 2 to 4 inches in diameter and 12 to 16 inches long. If the log breaks easily, then it is dry enough for your fire.
Step 5
Build a teepee for your fire. Place the tinder on the ground in the fire ring, stack the kindling into a cone around it, then lean the logs on the kindling.
Step 6
Light your fire. Strike the steel against the flint so the sparks fly into the pile of tinder. If you use matches or a lighter, leave an opening in the teepee so you can light the pile of tinder from the bottom. If a magnifying glass is used, direct the sunlight through the lens and aim the beam into the tinder at a fixed point until it starts to smoke and embers are created. Blow on the pile to catch the tinder on fire.
Step 7
Once your tinder is on fire, continue to blow gently until the rest of your kindling and logs catch fire. Continue feeding the fire with dry logs placed in a teepee pattern.

Tips & Warnings

Do not limit what you carry to start a fire. Flint, steel, magnesium, oily rags and pieces of fabric can all help you start a fire.
Never start a fire near low-hanging branches or closer than 6 feet from your shelter.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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