Having the ability to start a fire in a survival situation has many life saving advantages. Fire can provide warmth, sterilize your drinking water, be used as a source of light, cook your food, keep animals and bugs away, dry out your clothing, and used for signaling. What’s important is that you learn as many ways to get a fire started as you can.
Primitive fire starting methods are rather challenging, but very possible with some practice. It is possible to walk in the woods and gather all raw materials needed to start a fire. There all right there, no kidding! The Indians did it and you can to! (Especially you ladies!) The word "can’t" is no longer in a survivalist vocabulary.
I’ll give you the methods of primitive fire making. Please take the time to learn at lease one of these methods. Get the whole family involved!
All primitive methods of fire starting are based on friction. Just rub your palms together real fast, what’s happening? Your feeling heat, the faster you rub the hotter it gets. Same difference as rubbing to two sticks together.
There are a few important things to consider before starting your fire. The first and most important is safety. We don’t want to injure ourselves or burn our shelter's down in a survival situation. Help may not be available, and besides a burn hurts really bad! Safety first! Ok, with that said, clear an area free of any combustibles (meaning flammable). If rocks are available use them. Be careful if its windy. Also take into consideration clothing and long hair hanging down.
There are three things that are needed for any fire:, Heat, Fuel, Oxygen.
Gather materials to make your fire and gather a lot of it. All fire starting materials need to be dry. Tinder, dry and fluffy like cedar bark shaving, cattails, dryer lint, wood shavings, pine needles, leaves or grass. Kindling is small twigs and splinters of wood, about the size of your little finger and smaller. Fuel wood are branches smaller than your wrist to be add after you get your fire going well. You can also check out Utah Preppers about how to make char cloth.
Some of the primitive methods include the fire plow, hand drill and what is called the bow drill which is the easiest of these three. These three methods all work on the same principle, friction, by rubbing or turning vigorously with enough applied pressure. Doing this will create a fine dust though the process of friction. This dust gets hot, starts to smoke and where there’s smoke there's usually fire. Transfer this dust, using a leaf or a piece of bark, on to your tinder bundle. Blow on your tinder bundle, giving it oxygen, until you get a flame. Now that you have a flame, set your tinder bundle down in the area that you previously cleared, and slowly start adding your kindling. It's important to be patient as not to add to much at one time, we don't want to smother the fire. If you feel it's going well at this point start adding your fuel wood. Happy fire starting!
Here are some great examples:
Maine Primitive Skills School head instructor Mal Stephens teaches the Fire Plow friction fire method.
Maine Primitive Skills School instructor Nick Spadaro teaches the hand drill friction fire method.
Maine Primitive Skills School instructor Nick Spadaro teaches the bow drill friction fire method.