Bare Wilderness Survival Facts

How to start a fire in the Wilderness

Starting a fire

Ever wondered how the first settlers in this great country started fire. Many of them wore a small leather pouch around their necks. In the pouch was a rock, a striker, and a small tin. The tin contained char cloth.

Char cloth is a natural fiber that has been chemically altered by heating in the absence of oxygen. A piece of cotton, jute or cattail fluff is placed in a tin with a small hole in the top. It is then thrown in a fire. Smoke will escape from the hole in the tin. When the material stops smoking it is finished.

Remove from the fire but do not open until it has cooled or it will start to burn when it gets access to oxygen. After the char cloth is cooled it will start to glow immediately when a spark lands on it. It is very hard to extinguish once it has been ignited. The glowing piece of char cloth is then placed in a nest of dry grass or other tinder. Blow on the tinder until it bursts into flame.

The striker is a piece of hardened high carbon steel usually bent in a oval shape so it is easy to hold. When a rock is struck against it a small piece of molten metal is shaved off the striker causing what appears to be a spark. If you can get the spark to land on the char cloth you have a glowing ember, and the beginning of fire.

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