37

I'm from British Columbia; lots of BC is technically a rain forest, which pretty much means you're always starting your fire with wet wood. The trick to getting wet wood to light is to generate a lot of heat when you first start your fire - that means using lots of extra kindling. Cut triple or quadruple the amount of fine kindling and build yourself a ...


27

First realize that firewood has two qualities when it relates to moisture. Green/Seasoned Wet/Dry When a tree is cut down the wood is green. Over time the wood seasons, natural moisture in it evaporates. Depending on the type of wood, it takes 6 to 12 months to become seasoned. Green wood will burn, but it spends most of its energy boiling off the ...


22

Not inside anything you're in. A smouldering fire is pretty much the worst thing for generating carbon monoxide. That will poison you. I'd include the boot of a saloon car (trunk of a sedan?) as there's normally plenty of ventilation between that and the cabin. Another reason for this is in case it ignites something - you don't want to be too close. As ...


20

You don't really have to keep it dry at all. If it is proper firewood, it has already dried. A little rain won't change that. To start a fire you can split the wood, which will be dry inside. Once the fire has gained a little strength, you can just put the wet logs on; they will dry in no time. I can understand if you want to keep the wood from soaking ...


18

Back in the day when I fit the criteria in the question. Assuming the wood is down and has been seasoned. One Cord {128 cubic feet (3.62 m3)} a day is easy. I used to cut, split and load into the truck in the morning, sell it later in the day and stack it at the buyers house. Do over next day. 2 or 3 cords a day should be reasonable production for cut, ...


15

From the moisture content of the wood it is certainly dry enough to have a good fire. I would suggest that you don't have enough heat to fully ignite the gases. Wood burns through a process called pyrolysis where heat first breaks down the solid into flammable gases, which if there is enough heat will ignite and start a chain reaction. As the flammable gases ...


14

Don't chop it. If you haul in your wood unchopped with its bark still on, then it'll stay dry enough on the inside. We found a pile of wood buried in the snow at one winter camp, and had no troubles getting a fire going with it. Don't worry too much about it getting wet; just leave it stacked in a spot where water won't accumulate. It will burn without any ...


14

Since you didn't limit the question to materials found in nature: I've lit wet firewood in the rain using pieces of waxed cardboard. They burn very fast and hot. And wax firestarters are essentially waterproof themselves, so they're pretty reliable even in wet conditions. You used to be able to get waxed cardboard from any supermarket, in the form of ...


14

Poisonous plants are typically more dangerous when you burn them, at least that's true with plants that have oily toxins (poison ivy/oak). Toxins in plants aren't necessarily vaporized when burned. Smoke is a particulate, not a vapour. If you are burning something toxic, the toxins can potentially be carried by particles of smoke and be inhaled which is far ...


12

In my particular area (Alabama, USA), I can mostly tell how well something is going to burn by the hardness of the wood, the density of it, and the general ratio of late to early growth in cut sections. If I cut wood, say a branch, with a saw or something where I can see the rings in the wood, I can look at the amount of late season growth (more solid wood) ...


11

What firefighter could resist a question like this? As a rule of thumb, never kick a smoldering log to put it out, especially not in a dry environment where water is scarce. Smoke is the byproduct of incomplete combustion, so if it's smoldering, it's burning. Kicking a burning log dislodges burning embers into the air, where they can be carried ...


10

In such cases the kindling material found on the ground might be also wet: try searching for thin dry branches on the lower parts of trees. Especially the pine trees are "built" in a way that the lowest branches die and dry as the tree grows - the rest of the branches are usually thick enough to keep this bottom part dry, and as so, perfect to be used as ...


10

It's hard to be absolutely certain without a specific goal for the firewood, but there are some generic things to look for: Sap: Sap-rich woods usually produce a lot of smoke, often black or dark grey in color due to incomplete combustion of the terpenoids in the sap. Classic examples include cedar and pine. Dried twigs from sap-rich woods can make good ...


9

Heartwood, assuming the definition on Wikipedia as basically just the middle of the tree that is no longer growing, is indeed what you will be burning most of the time as fuel for your fire. Considering it has not been growing for some time, it may well be somewhat drier than the surrounding sapwood, and therefore actually burn better. That said, the ...


9

This summer I went out canoe camping in some light rain that turned into a torrential downpour and wouldn't stop. When it finally did, there was a puddle in the fireplace and we had no dry wood. We had a little paper with us, and we got tinder from the inside of logs, and all those tricks, but nothing worked and we had a small child with us who was getting ...


9

I find this fairly easy, but not as easy to explain. Knowing the types of trees and how they usually look helps a lot, dead branches will usually stand out a fair bit in my experience. Loss of bark. If having a closer look, check if there are healthy looking buds, in many species they fall off or dry out if the branches are dead. Lack of thinnest branches, ...


9

TLDR You need about 15 to 20% more green wood to achieve the same amount of heating as with seasoned wood. Calculation According to the linked Wikipedia article green wood weighs 70-100% more than seasoned wood and seasoned wood has an energy content of 4.5kWh/kg = 16.2MJ/kg. This obviously depends on the wood, but we are just looking for an estimate. ...


9

Maybe you could start by burning the thinner branches before moving on to the bits that are thick enough to need splitting, but it probably hasn't dried enough, without much surface area and that covered by bark. Cherry is desirable for woodworking though - the trunk probably has some value.


8

Very simply, the drier the wood, the more efficiently it burns, and the easier it lights. A lean-to on the downwind side of the house is very common as a long-term wood store (there's generally a prevailing wind direction; this is often, but not always, the same as the direction the wind blows most often when it rains). Bringing wood into the house for a ...


8

At least for some species, Rhododendron wood is not especially toxic when burned. I've seen (and used) many species of Rhododendron in the Chinese Himalaya as firewood, in both outdoor and drafty indoor conditions. This included seasoned and unseasoned wood, and large enough quantities of smoke that my Rite-in-The-Rain notebooks still smell like bacon. Long ...


8

TL:DR Other than what splitting is required for making kindling, there is little benefit to splitting wood in most short term survival situations. Stealth A several of the points in your question, are about stealth and remaining undiscovered. As ab2 say's 'Splitting logs takes energy" that energy is partially expressed as sound that travels long distances....


8

The dead wood will certainly be dryer than it was when the tree was alive. However, whether it's dry enough is uncertain. Cut it and see. You could offer to cut the tree in return for the wood. Worst case, you store the cordwood under a tarp for a while. You'd probably have to do this anyway. Unless you have something very unusual, you're not going to ...


8

Partially burned logs in my experience do not work well for restarting a fire but once you have a fire going, they burn just fine. Depending on the size of the sticks, I might use it as part of the structure in building my new fire. In general, when building the next fire, the partially burned stuff is on the bottom.


7

even wood that's been kept covered is often very wet and can be difficult to light. I will second that. Some people claim their wood is dry, but if you go look at how they "cover" it, sometimes you see that the wood is only protected from the lightest of rains in the lightest of winds. I have seen some "coverings" that any amount of normal wind would blow ...


7

I have ruined more than one hatchet in my lifetime trying to split large logs in half. The trick is to not try to spit them down the middle as you would with an axe, but to chop around the edges of the logs and split off smaller pieces all the way around, making the log smaller and smaller as you go. One technique is to make "helper" chops in the top around ...


6

First of all, you want to bring a lightweight hatchet with which you can split the green firewood. Remember that the more surface area you expose the more flame you will get and the hotter the fire will get. Last week, my friends and I were having a hard time with your same problem, so we made a bellows (air pump to fire) with an air mattress pump (4 D ...


6

It depends on the resources available. Wood may be thick or thin, wet (green) or dry. You start the fire with the most combustible material, i.e. thin/dry, and then make a judgement about what to place on the fire from the available material. My techniques when camping at a fixed place are: thin: make sure there is some kindling dried out ready to start the ...


5

Since you mentioned pre-cut firewood, I'm assuming you're car camping or at some other location where you can easily bring some store-bought materials (not backpacking). By far the easiest way I've found is to use a synthetic log such as Duraflame for about $2. Place that at the bottom of the wood pyre, arrange the wet logs on top, then light the synthetic ...


5

Five hours from San Francisco is enough to reach a good chunk of the Sierras and even further north in the area of Lassen and Shasta. There are large areas of national forest within this range. Generally the national forests will have less restrictions than national parks, particularly popular ones like Yosemite. Each national forest will have its own ...


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