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48

It looks like a grindstone. The two halves would be different fineness. Your friend probably had this in his cooking kit to sharpen knives. This doesn't look like it has anything to do with starting fires. Here is a device that looks very similar to yours. It's clearly for sharpening: This is a snippet from the web site of Sharpening Supplies.


38

There's two main things that generally cause this, the first being the moisture content in the rock and the second being the type of rock. If the rock is wet and you heat it rapidly, any water will turn to steam and put pressure on the rock, forcing shards of it to break off rapidly. Secondly the type of rock matters, layered rocks such as sandstone are much ...


31

It's difficult to tell exactly how long wood you've gathered will last you, unless as an expert you can gauge an accurate estimate due to the type of wood, weather conditions and other contributing factors (theoretically possible, but above my ability level.) However, there are different ways of constructing a fire, and one in particular is designed to burn ...


28

You need to: Make sure the embers are cool. This is the most important thing you should do, regardless of anything else. If the embers are still warm, there's always the chance they'll spark up again in a strong wind with the right fuel. Embers can take hours to cool off, but if you put your fire out before you go to bed, they should be cool in the morning. ...


27

Wool does not melt or drip This answer might surprise you: wool! Wool (...) does not melt or drip(.) Wool ignites at a higher temperature than cotton and some synthetic fibers. It has a lower rate of flame spread, a lower rate of heat release, a lower heat of combustion, and does not melt or drip; it forms a char which is insulating and self-...


27

It is apparently not safe, among the poor today who have to use it as they have no alternatives, it leads to all sorts of health problems. It is also a worse polutant than burning wood. On the reverse side of the environmental equation, raw biomass is known to emit a number of particulates as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Burning solid ...


25

This does have a basis in a known technique, back burning, but by your description the application wasn't orthodox. From Wikipedia: Back burning is a way of reducing the amount of flammable material during a bushfire by starting small fires along a man made or natural firebreak in front of a main fire front. It is called back burning because the ...


23

To get a long lasting fire, you have to limit the cumbustion somehow. Think embers as apposed to much flame. Wood stoves are specifically engineered to allow you to control the rate of combustion. This is done by controlling the air intake to the fire, which limits oxygen, which limits the combustion rate. A wood stove can be built nicely sealed, so the ...


20

I see three priorities: Make sure no one gets hurt Make sure possessions needed for survival (food, tents) are not destroyed Make sure the fire doesn't spread further and become a forest fire If the campsite you're using is an officially-sanctioned one, this last is probably the least likely to be a problem. You have a large group of people, so you can ...


20

Fires must be attended at all times! There is no such thing as, "the best way to leave a fire unattended for a short time," your fire is either being attended, or your fire is thoroughly extinguished and your pit is left cold, no argument. There are no conditions where an open pit fire can be left alone and be 100% guaranteed not to spread. It's the people ...


19

The Scottish 'code' mentions specific rights on the 'foreshore' What about public rights on the foreshore? 2.18 Public rights on the foreshore and in tidal waters will continue to exist. These have not been fully defined but include shooting wildfowl, fishing for sea fish, gathering some uncultivated shellfish, lighting fires, swimming, playing ...


19

Like many questions, this will depend somewhat on your location. For example, some soils will keep coals dry while allowing them enough oxygen to smolder. Some woods produce longer-lasting coals or more insulating ash. Get to know your location. Discuss the question with other fire-makers in your area. Still, there are probably some general guidelines to ...


19

Make a big fire. This may sound silly and couterintuitive, but the reason is pretty simple. If you make a small fire you need to put your stuff pretty close to it to have any chance of drying it in a decent amount of time. And if you put clothes or boots near the fire, then you concretely risk to burn them. While if you make a bigger fire, your equipment ...


17

This sounds like an "escape fire" (Wikipedia); see also the Mann Gulch Fire for a real life example. One of the The Gods Must Be Crazy movies had this technique used in a wildfire in the African savannah.


17

Additional to the other tips and warnings I would like to mention one special tecnique I found in the book "Outdoor Praxis" by Rainer Höh. Basically it consists of some kind of reflector fire, but the reflector will feed the fire instead. You would stick two or more thick, maybe even green, branches in the soil to support the reflector. Make sure to ...


17

There are two possibilities. As Olin Lathrop states it's a grindstone, and would be used to sharpen, or "file" things. It that's the case, then you would not use it to start a fire. It's part of a fire starting kit. I say a part, because fire starting kits usually have something like flint, that you would strike against something like a steel part. Flint ...


16

If you absolutely must have a fire, reset your thinking from "fire pit" to "fire mound" Creating a fire mound is a great way to enjoy a back-country fire with little to no impact to the ground / vegetation. Carry a small sheet of plastic, burlap, or a section of an old fire shelter, or anything of the like (it shouldn't get hot enough to burn if your mound ...


15

To avoid starting fire inside your shelter, you can do it outside and use a screen (sorry for my drawing): This is view from aside. On the upper picture there is a widely used method for sleeping under a screen (a piece of fabric). Screen is set above your sleeping place at 45 degrees and the heat is reflected from the screen towards you, so you are warm ...


15

An alternative to building a fire inside your shelter is to heat some rocks in a fire outside, and bring them inside (don't burn yourself!). A fire can sometimes be the best thing, but the heat from a hot rock can be a safer option if you're nervous.


14

First, lets dispel a common myth: Rock fire rings do absolutely nothing to contain, corral, or control a fire. That being said, a fire needs 3 things: air, fuel, and heat. An overabundance of one will create an uncontrollable fire. Thus, keep the following in mind: Consult the local fire conditions. Public lands agencies will rate the fire conditions. Heed ...


14

Like most activities, campfires aren't simply ethical or unethical. There are only a few things in this world that are always ethical or always unethical. Rather, there are ethical and unethical ways to behave. I don't expect a campsite to look exactly like the land around it - I understand there will be artificial clearings in the trees, perhaps a sign ...


14

I think this largely depends on the specific area you are traveling in. My approach is to always minimize campfires in the backcountry as a general rule. That being said, if I am in an abundant backcountry environment, where there is an already well made fire ring, I have no qualms making an occasional fire from dead, down, dry, and less than wrist size ...


14

In the context of camping, it's perfectly safe to wear a down jacket. Keep in mind that fleece is typically also made from synthetics, and so can be expected to have similar properties to your down jacket. (Actually somewhat worse, given the texture.) A table of synthetic fiber characteristics at http://www.tensiontech.com/tools_guides/...


14

Different land managers have different takes on this so I don't think you're going to get a solid answer that applies across all areas. I generally use the term "trail camp" to describe what you're talking about. An area with up turned rocks for sitting and doing stuff on, a fire ring, some flat spots for sleeping, etc. I've never dismantled a single one, ...


14

It boils down to the point what one could really do in such a situation. When I trek in India, I do come across such situations that beg some action from me and other sensitive people around. I define scope of 'what can I do' as following: Don't be outnumbered!: If we are outnumbered, I will rather opt to report it to the authority, without threatening the ...


14

Efficiency, mostly The fire should be able to burn very hot. Less fuel is needed (faster cooking). Produces less smoke. Less susceptible to wind. Light is shielded. Easy to cover up to extinguish. Covering it to remove evidence is easier. Support for cookware is easily added (something like green sticks across the top is possible). Should produce less ...


13

In addition to great strategy advice by Kate Gregory and berry120, there are some technical points. Take a deep breath If there is no immediate health/life risk, take a deep breath and think a little. 1-5 minutes of planning beforehead will help you do important things first, and avoid doing unnecessary or dangerous things. At this time, you will decide, ...


13

This isn't a direct answer to the question, but I want to point out that most ordinary forest fires pose little danger to humans. It is the relatively unusual crown fires which can be very dangerous. In generally dry pine forests, like many parts of the western US, forest fire is a natural and relatively frequent (from the point of view of long-lived trees)...


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