A fire can be beneficial during a survival situation. It provides:
To have a fire, one must have the materials necessary to get one started, and be familar with fire construction.
Gather a group of experienced outdoor-types together, and ask them how best to start a fire in an emergency situation. You’ll probably receive a variety of answers, all of which probably work.
Sporting goods stores and outdoor catalogs have a variety of fire-making materials available. The choice usually comes down to reliability, ease of use, and weight or portablility. Check around, and choose what fits you the best. Practice with your choice before you start carrying it. Make sure it works.
What do I carry? For a hike, I have fire-making materials for everyday use and for emergency use.
For everyday use, I carry the following:
The intended use is routine stove lighting for meal preparation. Not survival-related. Just day-to-day stuff. I find using the lighter saves a lot of matches.
For survival and emergencies, I carry:
These are items I don’t intend to use on a day-to-day basis. They remain intact from trip to trip, stay in my pack, and are for emergency use only.
When a fire is in order, more wood is better…Read More
Some may say duplication of fire resources as listed above is unecessary, takes up to much pack space, is too much weight, etc. etc. Why carry two different types of matches, a lighter, and a magnesium fire starting tool?
I gotta say, preparing for and building a fire in cold, damp weather is one of the greatest challenges you’ll face. You can make it easier or harder. I choose easier. The above combination (Everyday and Emergency) works for me.
One must use their head when considering a fire, either for warmth or signalling during an emergency. Backcountry areas (particularly in the Western United States), are plagued by hot, dry conditions during the summer months, resulting in an extreme wildfire threat. Campfire use is generally banned during those periods.
Unfortunately, cases are documented where man-caused wildfires originate from small campfires started by those who felt it was the “right thing to do” in a perceived emergency situation. Either the fires got away from them, or were left unattended when not completely extinguished.
Do not use a fire under any circumstances during periods when campfires are banned due to fire danger. The ban is in effect for a very good reason.
At other times, use extreme caution.
The last thing a person needs during an emergency situation is a greater wildfire emergency of their own creation. If you make it out in one piece, you’ll most likely face criminal or civil action for negligence.
Okay, so how does one construct a safe campfire, and more importantly how does one put out a campfire safely? Visit the U.S. Forest Service Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website for specific information.
Children require special care and supervision when it comes to possessing fire-making materials in an outdoor environment. Fire is not a toy, nor is it a recreation experience. Adults need to use discretion, and consider factors such as the young person’s level of maturity and the time of year.
Certain immature adults need to be given the same consideration as children.