Friday, January 6, 2012

Starting a 1 match fire

Starting a 1 match fire is a fun trick to impress your friends on a campout or when you are grilling and you have run out of lighter fluid. People who think you have to have a ton of newspaper or gasoline to start a fire just don't understand how fire works. This skill will also help when you are camping in wet conditions and everyone else can't get their fire started because they are trying to start a fire with a pile of big wet wood.

The trick is to start with small (tooth pick size or smaller) dry wood. This is critical. If you try to start with large twigs, the match will burn out before the wood catched fire. If it does not snap, it is not dry enough. In Missouri and over much of the United States, Eastern Red Cedar is a great source of dry small kindling, but in other parts of the country other trees (Pine) will work. You just have to do a little experimenting to see what works best for you. Even in a down pour you can find dry dead interior twigs that are dry enough to start a fire with.

Air movement it critical. Place your small kindling up off the ground so that you can easily place a lit match under the kindling. Here I have used 2 larger branches to support the kindling. Note the size of the kindling in relation to the match. If it is windy, use your body to block the wind from blowing out the match.

You will want to have the next sizes of wood ready to go (already gathered, broken and next to the fire site) before you start the fire. The kindling will burn out fast so if you have to run around looking for more wood, your fire will be out when you return.

Hold the match horizontal so that it does not go out and so that it does not burn too fast. Fire burns up so if you hold it vertically it will burn out before the kindling is burning.

Once the fire is going, gently add more small kindling until you have a fire that you feel comfortable the wind will not blow out or the wood will not burn out if you walk away. Do not add large wood too quickly. Teach kids to place the kindling on the fire, not throw it, as that will disturb the fragile small fire.

You have started a 1 match fire. This is a fun challenge for a Boy Scout group or a great way to teach kids/adults how to build a fire without using newspaper or lighter fluid.

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