Starting a Fire Safely
In dry terrain or heavily wooded areas, you should consider the necessity of building a fire. In emergencies or cold weather, particularly at night, a fire may be critical. At other times, a fire may not be necessary.
If you decide to build a fire:
- Be extremely careful to avoid starting a fire that can spread to surrounding grass.
- Clear an area of bare dirt around the fire as a firebreak.
- Place rocks around the fire to help contain it.
- Watch out for flying ash and sparks.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Select a site where the fire’s heat will radiate into the shelter. Your sleeping area should be located between the shelter wall and the fire.
- If there is snow on the ground, build the fire on a platform of green logs or rocks.
- Gather everything you need before starting the fire. Pile downed wood ranging from small twigs to fuel logs next to the fire site.
- Collect more fuel than you think you can use; you may need it.
- Pile fine twigs, grass, or bark shavings loosely as a base. If you can’t find downed wood or dry kindling, shave dry wood from the inside of tree bark.
- Place slightly larger sticks on the kindling until the pile is about 10 inches high.
- If there’s a breeze, light one end of the kindling so that the flame is blown toward the rest of the fuel. Otherwise, light the kindling in the middle of the base.
- As the flames spread to the larger twigs, slowly add more wood to the blaze. Add larger pieces as the fire grows.