Building a fire for survival. Bushcraft – Part 5 Fire Crafting Techniques for Outdoor Survival
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Bushcraft – Part 5 Fire Crafting for Survival

Techniques for Outdoor Survival

As you know from the prior information, fire is an extremely important part of survival. It serves different purposes, like keeping you warm, cooking food, and sanitizing water by boiling it.

With these unique purposes come different fire-building techniques. Some types of fires may not be effective for every purpose, so it’s important to know how to build one depending on what you need it for.

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Building a fire outdoors using twigs.

The first thing you need to know about fire for survival is how to start one. You’ll need to find tinder first. Finding materials that will burn is extremely easy outdoors. Materials like wood are good options, like sticks, twigs, bark, etc. You can also use dried dead plants.

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Once you gather materials to use for tinder, you need to create the flame. If you have materials like a lighter or matches, those will work best. You may also want to get a flint and steel kit or a ferro rod to keep in your survival supplies, as it’s longer lasting than matches or lighters.

However, if you don’t have any of those materials, you can use other methods. One method is the bow drill method, which involves using a stick wrapped in string to create friction and sparks directly onto the tinder.

Illustration of a bow drill and how it works. Bushcraft - Part 5 Survival Fire Crafting
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Illustration of a bow drill and how it makes a fire.

There are many other ways to start a fire, like the hand drill method, rubbing two sticks together until it sparks. Research and find out which ones seem like they’d be the best or easiest in a survival situation, and practice starting a fire a few times to make sure you can remember how to do it.

Related: The Ultimate SHTF Survival Lessons Guide, Lesson #3-5, Shelter, Fire Building and Communication

Another thing you need to know about fires for survival is fire safety. Fire safety is important because if you’re not careful with your flames, you might cause a large fire that puts you and your group in danger. If the conditions are right, you could even end up causing a devastating wildfire.

One obvious, but important thing you need to do for fire safety is to take extra precautions to avoid burning yourself. Without access to modern medical assistance, a burn could easily become infected.

Related: Bushcraft – The 5 Most Important Survival Tips for Beginners

Another thing you need to watch out for is the location of your fire. Avoid burning it near anything that could catch fire and make the flames spread out of control. When making a fire, you also need to build a ring of rocks around it so that the flames don’t spread.

Warmth is an important part of survival. During winter months, finding yourself without a campfire at night could be especially dangerous. When keeping yourself warm, make sure not to build your fire too close to your shelter, as it could catch on fire and burn down.

Fire building in the wilderness. Bushcraft - Part 5 Survival Fire Crafting
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Fire building in the wilderness.

One good way you can utilize fire for warmth is to build up a wall of sticks/logs around one side of the fire. This method keeps the warmth flowing towards the direction the wall isn’t built up on so that you’ll get the most out of the heat.

Related: Grid-Down Disaster? 9 Things You Need for Survival Prepping

When you’re building a fire to keep yourself and your group warm, you’re going to want to make sure you have lots of materials to keep the flame going. Any type of fire is great for providing warmth, but it won’t do any good if it burns up quickly.

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For boiling water, one great method is building a tripod fire. A tripod fire is composed of three sticks that allow you to hang something from the top. Depending on how heavy your container of water is and how sturdy your build is, this would be an ideal method for boiling water.

However, if you’re using something like a stainless-steel canteen or pot, you can pretty much use any method. You can even just build a regular campfire and set the container in the middle.

An oven constructed from found materials. Bushcraft - Part 5 Survival Fire Crafting
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An oven constructed from found materials.

For cooking, one reliable method is to build a fire and put sturdy sticks over it to create a makeshift grill. This method would be good for cooking things like meat or vegetables without having to rely on cooking supplies like a pan.

Read this: Outdoor Cooking

You can also use a flat rock over a fire to create an outdoor stove. If you’re cooking something in a steel container like soup in a pot, you can just place it directly over the fire or use the tripod method as if you were boiling water.

One more cooking fire method is to build a stone oven. Stone oven builds can range in how complicated they are, so research different types and see which method you like best.

Read this: Survival Cooking After The Collapse of Society

All of these different types of fires are things you should practice and perfect your skills on prior to being in an actual survival situation. Be aware of smoke inhalation, too. Some people have stood next to a fire and inhaled too much smoke, causing them to fall into the fire when they passed out.

Survival in the wilderness isn’t easy. It’s especially tough if you have to go into it without the gear that serves as a convenience. But if you learn these basic methods ahead of time and practice until you feel confident with them, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you can weather any type of event.

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