Questions related to building, igniting, maintaining, controlling, and stopping fires. Gathering firewood, suitable locations, fire rings, and more.

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6
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1answer
73 views

How do you build a warming fire in an old barrel?

I learned to ice-skate on a lake in Connecticut. My father build a warming fire in an old barrel (oil barrel ?) and a group of us would skate, warm up, skate, warm up and repeat, for hours. How does ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

Can a 'Flameless ration heater' be used to safely start a fire?

It appears that you can accidentally & unsafely have an unsafe occurrence with a 'Flameless ration heater'. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration ...
8
votes
1answer
120 views

Does any Household Object Function as a Passable Fire Steel?

Suppose I am trying to teach a class of 12 children how to build campfires. I would like each pupil to have a flint and steel for the lesson. As it turns out ferrocerium rods can be acquired cheaply ...
2
votes
4answers
140 views

Back-up wood and alcohol stove

I am looking for a back-up stove capable of burning wood and alcohol. Can you suggest one? I would like it to burn alcohol and wood (most important) be cheap be small be robust be light (least ...
8
votes
2answers
185 views

Can you boil water on top of Everest?

We recently had the question Can you get burned by boiling water on everest? and not to long ago the question Why aren't there any electric stoves that can be used for cooking where you can't ...
25
votes
8answers
17k views

How to create campfire which will burn overnight?

I watched a documentary "Man vs Wild" which showed the TV presenter Bear Grylls collecting wood and starting a fire. He somehow always manages to keep his campfire burning until dawn. How does one ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Is campfire smoke safe for inhalation and cooking?

Is it safe to burn any kind of wood as campfire if you are going to be cooking on it directly? Like broiling a steak on a grill over the fire where the smoke and the flames will touch the meat. Can ...
17
votes
2answers
276 views

Is a tepee, log cabin, or lean-to configuration most effective for starting a fire?

As long as the wood is dry and you have good kindling, does it matter how I start a fire?
8
votes
2answers
145 views

Is a camping grill an indispensable cooking utensil in the wild?

It seems that all campfire cooking (grilling meat/veggies, not boiling water) can be done by building a decent fire, wrapping meat/veggies/potatoes in a aluminum foil, setting it next to the fire and ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

What do you call a long-handled hatchet?

I am looking to buy an axe for processing firewood. I don't require a head larger than a hatchet but, for safety, I would rather have a handle long enough to comfortably grip with both hands -- as ...
13
votes
3answers
307 views

Are there any specific techniques that should be used when starting a fire in the rain?

Starting a fire can sometimes be hard enough when it's dry, let alone when it's tipping it down. But when it is, what steps should you follow to try to ensure the fire gets going successfully? I'm ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Gas or liquid fuel lighter?

My backpack of course has a rechargeable gas lighter. I am considering buying a good Zippo, as I feel it more resistant, and it does not need to be kept with your hands to stay on. Would you suggest ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Wax paper as a fire starter

One thought led to another and I started wondering how effective wax paper would be to bring along as tinder to start a fire. I've seen suggestions of using paraffin in conjunction with other ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

What coat should I wear when camping that won't be damaged through melting by embers from a fire?

I've gone sub-freezing camping a few times and each time I've had an ember (without noticing) melt/burn through an outer layer. The first time was through a synthetic down type jacket (fairly thin), ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

How to choose a fire steel and use it most effectively?

Fire steels, ferrocerium rods -- oversized versions of the "flint" in a lighter or torch starter, are an apparently popular survival/backwoods fire starting method. Why would one want one of these ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Heal burn wounds in the wild

When out in the wild and a companion falls into the fire and gets injured very badly. How can I aid his wounds? Would be great to hear from some possible herbs (natural materials in general) but ...
12
votes
4answers
550 views

Safe, effective method for splitting firewood using a hatchet?

While car camping this past weekend, I bought some firewood from the park headquarters but unfortunately, it was split into very large pieces that obviously wouldn't light very well. I tried splitting ...
11
votes
1answer
267 views

How to deal with unethical campers?

Earlier last month I witnessed someone fell a tree in the Eagles Nest Wilderness while I was on a backpack trip. Its quite obvious that you're not supposed to cut down trees in a national forest, in ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Rocks to line a fire pit [duplicate]

Can anyone recommend what type of rock would work to line a fire pit? I am looking for a type that is unlikely to explode when heated.
35
votes
2answers
51k views

How to avoid exploding rocks

It seems that every tutorial I read and show I watch shows people using rocks for everything from a cooking surface to boiling water. However, I have had rocks crack in half on me, and I've always ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Surviving a forest fire by starting another fire

Awhile back I heard on CBC radio about a man who got trapped in a forest fire (surrounded on all sides) and survived. The way he survived was so ridiculous that he was brought to court and almost ...
4
votes
1answer
395 views

Leaving a fire unattended for a few hours, then returning

What is the best way to leave a fire unattended for a short time and then to return to use it again? Here is my imagined scenario: arrive at a camp site and start a fire in a pre-made iron fire pit. ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

Tips for Cooking with Unseasoned (green) Firewood

We car-camp regularly at Ontario provincial parks. The parks forbid bringing in our own wood (to help prevent foreign invasive species from entering the local ecosystem). We are supposed to buy ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

When is it unethical to dismantle a fire-ring?

I've dismantled several fire-rings in an area that has many fire-rings strung out between a major trail and a river. (Colorado, 8,500 feet). These are not official camp sites. Over the years, ...
11
votes
6answers
471 views

Leave no Trace: Are campfires unethical?

According to the Centre for Outdoor Ethics: "The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition [...] the natural appearance of many areas has ...
13
votes
2answers
548 views

How to prepare for and survive wildfire?

In some areas, such as the western US, wildfires are common during the summer dry season. "Fire safety" advice usually centers on not starting a wildfire, e.g. extinguishing or avoiding campfires. ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How to light a fire with wet firewood?

There is a wide variety of pre-cut firewood available when camping. In my experience, even wood that's been kept covered is often very wet and can be difficult to light. What are some techniques for ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

What is the most efficient way to position a reflector?

I was reading this question about heating a shelter and it occurred to me: I've always been told to use a reflector and how it benefited me, but never told how to position it to maximize efficiency. ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it safe to wear a down jacket while building a fire

The outside of a down jacket is usually made of nylon or polyester, which is inflammable. While trying to build a fire, is it safe to wear this jacket? Or will the flying embers be enough to set the ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Can I heat a shelter with fire?

So I built my survival shelter and I decide a nice fire would really warm things up. Is there a way I can build a fire that would heat the shelter without too much smoke? I know I could make the ...
4
votes
2answers
64 views

Can fire starting liquid be used in a kerosene lamp?

Supermarkets often have "fire starting liquid" on sale - that's usually transparent oil-like liquid looking much like kerosene. The label typically says the product it "mix of paraffins". It behaves ...
2
votes
0answers
64 views

How do you build a campfire that leaves no trace? [duplicate]

Say you're camping in the backcountry where there aren't any developed campsites or fire rings. What methods are there for building a camp fire that will leave absolutely no trace afterwards?
2
votes
1answer
118 views

earthy/peaty ground fire lighting

When on slightly peaty ground, (i.e loamy forest rather than very peaty heath) is there any possible safe way to light and tend a small fire? I'd envisaged scraping away the top soil, dousing below ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Are fires in natural caves/overhangs safe?

I have heard that a fire in a cave or under an overhang can cause a rock collapse, potentially injuring the occupant. Is this a real risk?
4
votes
1answer
116 views

Rules for Carrying flammable subtances in UK

I am planning for a trek in Northern and Eastern parts of England. I am planning to cover the Hull to Liverpool section of the Trans Pennine Trail, which is roughly 290 km or 180 miles. I have ...
13
votes
4answers
15k views

Is it legal to light bonfires on UK beaches?

Assuming a lack of signage indicating the legalities, is it legal to light a bonfire on a beach in the UK? I haven't been able to find an authoritative source on this either way, hence the question. ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

What foods can you cook by directly placing them into a fire?

Sometimes I do not want to bother wish dishes. The other day, I took a yellow pepper, and placed into a wood fire I had going, and left it there for a good 5 minutes while I prepared a curry. I pulled ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it a bad idea to dry clothes by the fire?

Is there too great a chance of accidentally setting your only pair of undies on fire? What about putting the undies on a hot rock? Or would the rock explode ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Can I light a kerosene lamp with flint & steel or a magnifying glass?

I am planning a canoe trip, and will be bringing a kerosene lamp for light. As a backup fire lighting option I am planning on bringing flint & steel and possible a magnifying glass. Can either ...
21
votes
4answers
38k views

How can I start a fire by rubbing two sticks together?

When trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, what does one need to consider? I am assuming I can't just grab any two sticks and start rubbing... Should they be dead or green? Hard ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

Are Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel truly toxic to burn in a campfire?

For a very long time now, I've believed and taught that burning Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel in a campfire will make you sick because of the toxins in these plants becoming airborne then inhaled ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Where can I expect to find naturally occurring flint in the wild?

Where would I look if I was in a survival situation and wanted to find some rocks for fire starting? Where does flint occur naturally? What environments could you expect to find some in? I've created ...
5
votes
2answers
154 views

Lighting a fire using a flint and steel

On the spur of the moment I bought a flint and steel. This was mainly because it seems manly and cool. My main problem is I really struggle to light a fire with the thing and normally give up and use ...
19
votes
5answers
6k views

What foods are unsafe to cook over an open fire?

My friends and I went camping this weekend and I bought a package of Johnsonville brats to cook over the fire. Many a person said that one should 'never bring raw brats to cook over a campfire', their ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

Which wood sources produce toxic smoke?

So the title says it all. If I am scavenging wood in the wilderness, does some of it burn toxic? If so what kinds. This question is derived from this answer.
11
votes
4answers
453 views

Cooking over a fire

Is there a way to make a wood fire that is good for cooking? Why is it better than others? Assume little to no wind. Would it make a difference if I cooking hot dogs on a stick or a steak?
4
votes
1answer
130 views

What kinds of wood work well in a bow drill?

I've been working with the bow-drill, and I notice that certain types of wood may be so hard that hardly any powder forms (like african mahogany) and others may be too soft and crumbly. Pine appears ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Primitive fire starting in northeastern Brazil

I live on the coast of the northeastern part of Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte). As you go inland, the terrain becomes very arid. There are cactus and a lot of xerophilic plants that remind me a lot of ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

Can heartwood be used for fire?

During a fire building process, can heartwood be used as a fuel for the fire? Assuming you are working with less than perfect materials, there is always a danger that your fire will go out at the ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

How to make a fire without burning the ground

I was wondering if there was a way to make a fire pit and start a fire in it, and have a way to protect the ground beneith it as much as possible. I don't really know how I could manage to do that, ...