“The psychological effects of being able to start a fire should not be underestimated; neither should the effects of not being able to start one.”
In any survival situation maintaining your core body temperature is critical. It could be the difference between life and death. Beyond Shelter (See part 1 CBT Shelter Blog post) fire is crucial. It has the ability to form a micro climate to protect you from the elements, treat water, cook food, sterilize for first aid, and provide comfort and security. It cannot be underestimated.
I could write several blog post on the fundamentals of fire alone, but I will stick to just a few key principles.
Four Stages of Fire: By most standards there are 4 stages of a fire. These stages are incipient, growth, fully developed, and decay.
- Incipient/Ignition – This first stage begins with the Fire Triangle
The Fire Triangle: Too often we think of fire as an object, and fail to understand the reaction that takes place. Fire is an event. When the elements of Fuel, Oxygen, and Heat are combined they create combustion which results in FIRE!
- Growth – This is where the combustibles and oxygen are used as fuel for the fire. Usually consist of isolated flames. There are numerous factors affecting the growth stage. Factors that affect fire development
- Fuel type
- Availability of air supply
- Availability and proximity of additional fuel
- Ventilation and changes in ventilation
- Ambient conditions (e.g. wind, temperature, humidity, etc.)
- Fully Developed – When all combustible materials have been ignited, a fire is considered fully developed. This is the hottest phase of a fire and the point where it produces the most heat.
- Decay – Usually the longest stage of a fire, the decay stage is characterized a significant decrease in one or more of the elements found in the triangle of fire, putting an end to the fire.
Now that you have a simple overview of the stages of fire, let us look at several different methods for starting a fire.
5 Primary Fire Methods/Ignitions
Friction – Ferro Rod / Bow Drill / Hand Drill / Fire Saw / Fire Plow
Solar – Magnifying Lens (position, angle, and sturdiness is key) (char-cloth, fungus, ball)
Percussion – Flint and Steel
Electrical – Battery & Steel Wool
Chemical – Potassium Permanganate & Glycerin
Be sure to lay down a proper fire platform (ground barrier), and a well prepped tinder bundle before starting a fire. We have several videos on many of these fire methods. Having an adequate amount kindling will also greatly impact the effectiveness of your fire.
Always properly extinguish your fires. Fire Control Theory – fire is controlled and extinguished by limiting or interrupting one or more of the essential elements in the fire triangle. Before you leave make ash soup. If you cant place your hands in the coals/ash without burning yourself then you have not properly extinguished your fire.
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