How to Build a Fire Without Matches

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One of the most important survival skills you will ever learn is how to make a fire. Depending on what materials you have with you this may be easy or it may take more than an hour. Should you find yourself lost, alone, or somewhere out in the woods with no way to call for help you should start a fire immediately, regardless of the difficulties involved. The seven most dangerous things to a human being out in the wild are: temperature, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom, anxiety, and injury. By building a fire you keep warm, can cook food, may sleep safely from predators, give yourself something to do, and quell your fear or anxiety by keeping yourself too busy to dwell on the situation. In a single action you've negated five of those seven dangers and drastically increased your chances of survival. Here is a guide on how to start a fire should you not have matches, lighter, or a fire making kit.

Instructions

Making A Fire With Steel Wool

Step 1

Take a piece of steel wool and run the contacts of a nine volt battery across it. The wool wire will conduct electricity in the same way as the filament in a light bulb.

Step 2

Take care not to burn your fingers as patches of the steel wool smolder and turn red.

Step 3

Blow on the smoldering patches and feed the wool some dry leaves or grass until a flame catches.

Step 4

Carefully lower the wool and flame to the ground and feed it more kindling. Be careful not to smother the fire by dumping too much dry material onto the flame at once. As the fire grows slowly place sticks and larger branches against the flame until you have a full size fire.

Making Fire With A Leather Cord

Step 1

Find a sturdy length of dry wood at least a foot long.

Step 2

Loop your leather or rawhide cord under the stick. A shoelace is too roughly textured and will simply rip apart. But a leather shoelace would work just fine

Step 3

Keep some kindling near at hand as you won't have much time to look for some when you will need it.

Step 4

Hold the stick firmly to the ground by standing with one foot on either end.

Step 5

Saw the cord back and forth so it cuts sharply into the stick. Continue this for several minutes. The stick will become dry and eventually it will blacken. You should smell smoke.

Step 6

Grab up the kindling as soon as you see sparks or embers and touch it near, but not directly on, the sparks. Blow softly to fan the sparks. Eventually a spark will catch and the kindling will ignite.

Step 7

Feed the flame kindling gradually, being careful not to smother it. Increase the size of the twigs and sticks you use until the fire finally catches on a large piece of wood.

Step 8

Place more wood around the flaming branch to get the fire to spread. You should have no trouble keeping the fire fed from there.

Making Fire Using A Lens

Step 1

Gather a bed of kindling. Look for dry moss, twigs, leaves, and grass. The kindling must be completely dry or it will not catch fire.

Step 2

Use a magnifying glass or glasses if you wear them, to focus the sun's rays on the pile of kindling.

Step 3

Blow on the kindling lightly when it begins to smoke and blacken.

Step 4

Feed more kindling and small branches to the small flame that should arise.

Step 5

Place larger branches near the fire to gradually let them catch alight. From there you should have no problems keeping a good sized fire lit.

Making A Fire With A Bow Drill

Step 1

Look for a short, straight, sturdy twig about six inches long. Gather kindling, a flat length of wood, a curved branch about a foot long, and a stone or piece of wood with a round depression in it.

Step 2

Remove one of your shoelaces and tie it tightly to both ends of the curved stick. You've made a bow drill.

Step 3

Loop the straight twig into the string of the bowdrill.

Step 4

Place the bottom of the twig firmly against the flat piece of wood and hold the stone on top of the twig's other end with your off hand.

Step 5

Draw the bow back and forth, making the twig spin in place. Start out slowly to make sure nothing comes loose and then gradually speed up. Over the course of about ten minutes the flat piece of wood should blacken and smoke.

Step 6

Place kindling all around the spinning twig and continue to draw the bow back and forth until sparks begin to jump and land on the kindling.

Step 7

Blow on the kindling lightly to get the sparks to catch fire. When this happens simply feed the flame more dry vegetation until the fire spreads to the piece of wood under the kindling. From there you can add larger branches until you have a roaring fire.

Tips and Warnings

It’s best to build your fire in an area protected from the wind. Strong wind will blow out the flames of your fire before it has a chance to grow. Don't try any of these techniques indoors or in an enclosed space. This is an extreme fire hazard.

Things You'll Need

Rawhide or Leather Cord, Kindling, Thick Dry Stick, Or, Magnifying Glass or A Lens, Kindling, Or, Stick, Kindling, Curved Sticks, Stone, Or, Fine Steel Wool, 9 Volt Battery, Kindling

About this Author

John Albers has been a freelance writer since 2007. He's successfully published articles in the "American Psychological Association Journal" and online at Garden Guides, Title Goes Here, Mindflights Magazine and many others. He's currently expanding into creative writing and quickly gaining ground. John holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology.

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