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#34872 - 03/04/14 11:08 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Carl Theile Online   content
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Rattus norvegicus

Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 6329
Loc: Outside, anywhere
FIRE IN WET CONDITIONS
There are three significant parts: Grading, Gathering, Laying, and igniting. Before I go into that, a word about tinder.
I use cotton balls saturated with vaseline (most petroleum products like chapstick will also work). By saturated
I mean a pea sized scoop of vaseline rubbed into the cotton ball. I always carry a small tin of these because they are
waterproof tinder that will ignite easily. One will burn for several minutes. More on this later.
GRADING-
All wood touching the ground is wet. Though it might not be wet to the core, it is better to consider other options.
Dead wood should be obvoiusly dead. Small pieces are easier to ignite than large pieces.
Gather twigs, lots of them (three times more than you think you need), then graduate to larger pieces.
Twigs are smaller than a pencil, from wooden match sized to pencil sized.
If you can find pine pitch gather some. It burns hot, is almost waterproof and is a great aid.
Fatwood is better still. It is wood saturated with pitch. You will know it when you see it.

GATHERING-
All wood touching the ground is wet. Though it might not be wet to the core, it is better to consider other options. (intentional repeat)
Dead wood (twigs, branches) still on the tree or bush are a better option. Some call that wood "squaw-wood".
Dead wood from fallen trees NOT on the ground are drier than wood on the ground.
Shelter what you gather under a tree or some artificial cover to keep it dry.

Laying-
Fires need heat fuel and oxygen to burn. Too little of any one of those and fire goes out.
Wet ground sucks heat away and creates steam- bad for fires in their initial stage, so find a sheltered spot
to make the initial fire. Lay five wrist-sized pieces of squawwood to make a platform. Have everything
else you gathered nearby. Place a loose gathering of twigs on the platform 1 to 2 inches deep.
Place 1 cotton ball on top of that, and more twigs on top of the cotton ball.

Igniting-
Light the cotton ball. It will burn and dry out the twigs. They may ignite. If so, sparingly add more twigs.
If they do not ignite, add a second cotton ball.
What is happening here is that small twigs that are dry may still have some moisture in them and
you are drying them out enough to allow them to burn. Once they catch, sparingly adding more twigs
which dries and ignites more twigs. As the fire grows in size embers are formed which aid the drying.
The embers fall on the platform instead of the ground (where they would go out) and heat increases.
Remembering that you need heat, fuel and OXYGEN for fire, continue to grow the fire with twigs but
be careful not to add to many. Once the fire is established add a few larger twigs (finger sized).
Kids get impatient. Go slowly......
-carl


Edited by Carl Theile (03/05/14 09:53 PM)
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#34873 - 03/04/14 11:41 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Joshua R. Offline
Die Hard Rat

Registered: 05/08/12
Posts: 2872
Great advise Carl.

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#34882 - 03/05/14 04:29 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Carl Theile Online   content
Survivor
Rattus norvegicus

Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 6329
Loc: Outside, anywhere
I did not expand much on pine pitch or sapwood (fatwood).

If there are pines in the area you choose to frequent, look for it and experiment a bit. It is my preferred tinder as it will burn soaking wet and with a hot flame. It is also fairly easy to start with a firesteel (my favorite and go-to choice for ignition). Cotton balls with Vaseline (or lipstick, chapstick, or most soft, paraffin-based products) is also an excellent choice. Once saturated they become waterproof and burn well, but also provide a quick remedy for chapped lips (dual purpose).

I think all kids should be introduced to pine pitch.

-carl
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#34884 - 03/05/14 04:55 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Thesnakeman2 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 452
Loc: SOUTH CAROLINA
alright
thanks i am probably going to be teaching and training in an area with a bunch of pine it it so that fatwood should not be a problem to find
i have never tried the visoline and cotton ball yet so i need to do that.
my goal is that anyone in the troop can reliably start a fire even in soaking wet conditions.

would you recommend to try to do a training session during and after a rain shower to see how they will preform?
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#34885 - 03/05/14 05:10 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Trumby Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/12
Posts: 5579
Loc: NSW
Good work,Carl. cool
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#34886 - 03/05/14 05:11 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Carl Theile Online   content
Survivor
Rattus norvegicus

Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 6329
Loc: Outside, anywhere
Quote:
would you recommend to try to do a training session during and after a rain shower to see how they will preform?


Indeed! Part of the issue is sheltering the flame DURING rain, when it is still feeble. Choosing proper cover is part of the problem.

I'd advise you tell them that this takes practice and failure should be viewed as a lesson to enrich their knowledge and technique- not just a failure. This is a critical skill in my humble opinion and once learned may save a life.

I fell through a snow bridge into a stream late in a day with a storm coming. I was at 10,500 feet (read: above timber line) and all gear got saturated. Near hypothermia, getting a fire going in wind and rain was critical. I thank many practice sessions (and failures) for this one success.

-carl
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Survivor- Old School Swamp Rat (2003)

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#34887 - 03/05/14 05:19 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Carl Theile]
Thesnakeman2 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 452
Loc: SOUTH CAROLINA
Originally Posted By: Carl Theile
Quote:
would you recommend to try to do a training session during and after a rain shower to see how they will preform?


Indeed! Part of the issue is sheltering the flame DURING rain, when it is still feeble. Choosing proper cover is part of the problem.

I'd advise you tell them that this takes practice and failure should be viewed as a lesson to enrich their knowledge and technique- not just a failure. This is a critical skill in my humble opinion and once learned may save a life.

I fell through a snow bridge into a stream late in a day with a storm coming. I was at 10,500 feet (read: above timber line) and all gear got saturated. Near hypothermia, getting a fire going in wind and rain was critical. I thank many practice sessions (and failures) for this one success.

-carl

ok how much sould i tell them to try to practice?
once a week?
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#34892 - 03/05/14 08:06 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Joshua R. Offline
Die Hard Rat

Registered: 05/08/12
Posts: 2872
As much as possible.

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#34893 - 03/05/14 08:46 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Thesnakeman2]
Carl Theile Online   content
Survivor
Rattus norvegicus

Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 6329
Loc: Outside, anywhere
Well, I've been practicing for 60 years and I am still learning. As an aside, all 70 years of my existence has been dependent upon fire for heat, so I build lots of fires. I do not believe there is a "perfect" technique, as each circumstance requires a unique approach. Right now, for example, I am burning unseasoned wood in the fireplace for heat.

Why?

Because I thought it might be a good idea to get more practice and because I am curious about how far I can push the envelope. smile

-carl
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Survivor- Old School Swamp Rat (2003)

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#34894 - 03/05/14 08:47 PM Re: Advanced fire techniques [Re: Trumby]
Carl Theile Online   content
Survivor
Rattus norvegicus

Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 6329
Loc: Outside, anywhere
Originally Posted By: Trumby
Good work,Carl. cool


Coming from you, that is high praise indeed smile

-carl
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