5 Ways to Start a Survival Fire

fire starter
Man igniting camp fire

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When you’re in a wilderness situation, you’re going to need a fire at some point. A fire is a necessity for cooking, signaling, for keeping warm, and it can boost morale. You need to know how to make one in a pinch.

Sometimes you have to use whatever you have on hand, and fortunately, there are many different ways to make a fire. One of the oldest ways in history is to rub sticks together.

This is a method that takes patience, effort and it can be hard to start the fire. But you can do it. What causes the fire to start this way is found in the friction you create by rubbing the sticks together.

Get enough friction going, and it causes a spark. The kind of wood that you use matters. You can’t use wood that’s damp – otherwise, it’ll never spark. You have to use completely dry wood.

A couple of ways to help get a fire started this way is through the use of a fire plow, which is creating a trough in one stick and rubbing another stick rapidly back and forth in the trough.

You can also use a fire bow, which is a method using a curved branch with twine or other material attached that you rub against a board or other branch. One of the easiest methods is to have a fire starter on hand.

One of the popular kinds is a magnesium fire starter. These are usually lightweight bars of some type that you use with a striker to create a spark. There are also chemical fire starters such as potassium permanganate.

Keep in mind, though, that this method is combustible. Other fire starters include things like cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly. There are solar fire starters that use the sun’s energy to start a fire by causing sparks to erupt when focused.

Another easy method to use when creating a fire in a pinch – which is also a fast way – is to use a battery and some steel wool. The type of battery that you use can vary so you can just use whatever you have on hand – including a cell phone battery if you have one that’s useless for communication.

You want to flatten out the steel wool a little. Some people hold the steel wool in the palm of their hands. If you do that, make sure you have on a sturdy pair of gloves to protect your skin.

With the contact points on the battery facing down toward the steel wood, you want to rub it back and forth quickly. The steel wool will smoke, spark and then you’ll see a small flame. Immediately put the wool onto the prepared kindling.

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