Men are survivors. Women are too, which is good because men would really only survive for, like, 50 – 80 years without women survivors. Once upon a time, survival didn’t mean making enough to pay your taxes or looking dapper enough to convince a lady to have kids with you. No, there was a time where survival was fire.
Of course, cro-magnons relied more directly on fire than we do today. They knew how to use it to its fullest potential – cooking food, lighting their nights, and fighting off predators. Today, fire is used for more mundane purposes: roasting marshmallows, starting furnaces, producing electricity. But just because fire isn’t a part of your daily life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to make a good one. And in this case good means safe, not big. Big and safe is the ideal. But safety first, as any gentleman knows. So how do you make a safe fire?
- Pick a safe spot: Make sure it’s free of obstructions and that the surrounding area will not be endangered. If the ground is full of the same stuff that you make your fire out of, it’s probably not the best spot.
- We’re assuming that there is no campfire pit for you to use. If there is an existing pit, use it. If not, clear a wide circle, about ten feet in diameter of any grass, loose twigs, and open kerosene containers. Your goal here is ‘alien abduction site’ moreso than ‘eleven-year old helping dad mow the lawn.’ When it’s clear, dig a 1-foot deep hole, circle it with rocks, and get ready to be warm.
- You need three types of wood to start a fire: tinder, kindling, and fuel. If a friend around the campfire is browsing tinder, DON’T BE FOOLED. That phone will make great fuel once the fire is alive and well. First, find some small twigs, leaves, and dry debris. This is your tinder. Next, you stack your kindling on top of it, in one of a couple different ways. As the fire grows, continue to add more tinder and kindling until it’s big enough to lop a big old piece of fuel (and your friend’s phone) on top of that fire to enjoy a beautiful, toasty blaze.
- All fires eventually must go out. If you want to speed up the process, or just not be an irresponsible s***, drown the fire in whatever you have. Water works best. Dirt is a close second. The goal is to get everything to the point where it is cold to the touch, because cold things don’t spontaneously light on fire (science!).
Just remember, there’s a bear out there who is counting on you to prevent forest fires. Do him proud, and maybe he won’t eat you.