Friday, February 25, 2011

Traditional Fire Producing Techniques

These fire starting methods are the most basic and require little to no prior training or experience.

Matches –Waterproof matches are best and typically the larger the match the less likelihood it will be blown out or affected by wind or moisture. However, standard matches can be made waterproof by using candle wax to coat the heads. Some matches can be split down the middle doubling their numbers but be aware that by doing this it will make them more likely to be blow out by the wind.

Lighters and mini torches – lighters work well and often offer more fire starts than a bundle of matches. Waterproof lighters are also a good choice to offer more protection from the elements. Mini torches are typically waterproof by nature but be sure to read the product label in order to confirm that that’s the case. Mini torches offer great protection from the wind and have a higher likelihood of starting a fire in high moisture conditions due to the intensity and focus of the flame. Take EXTREME caution however not to burn yourself or leave them in direct sunlight or close to your body to avoid exploding or combusting.

Magnifying glass – a magnifying lens is a great way to start a fire that has many advantages over the other forms listed above. Glass or the like, are resistant to water, resistant to temperature, will never deplete like the fuel found in lighters or torches, and have infinite use unless they are broken unlike matches that are a single use only item. However they are limited based on sunlight availability making them hard to use in heavy tree cover. You can overcome this by making a fire bundle and producing fire in an open area and then transporting the fire back to camp. Depending on the power of the magnifying glass and general mass, direct sunlight is key.  This means that the best time of day to harness and focus the power of the sun is during the heat of the day especially if it’s a lower power or smaller lens. This will vary according to climate and geographic location but typically ranges from 11:00 A.M. to 2 P.M., more powerful lenses may be capable of still producing fire several hours before or after that time range. Regardless, don’t wait till dusk to then decide that you should start a fire, by that time it will already be too late as indirect sun light does not hold the same potential for fire starting. Your chances of starting a fire can diminish drastically after 4 P.M. So prepare to build a fire early rather than later. If you didn’t pack a magnifying lens, you can try to disassemble cameras, monoculars, binoculars, telescopes, etc… Also if you have a first aid kit, look to see if there is a lens that accompanies the tweezers.

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