Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catching Fire (Part 2)

Fire Structure


The first part of the construction process is finding a good location. Find a spot that is safe from getting other dead branches hanging from trees on fire. Clear the Ground of debris. If you already have a shelter built or know where it is going to be, make sure you have your fire 4-6 feet away from your shelter.

Now that we have a good location, dig a small depression in the ground. Make sure that there are not any pitches roots near the fire pit. (Fire can spread easily through pine roots and other types of trees) Finish the pit off with a ring of dry stone to contain the fire.

Collecting wood:

Like with anything else, location is a very important element to consider when gathering fire wood and also for the fire itself. The best place to find dry wood is off the ground. Even if is is raining, there can still be dry wood found this way. I look for a broken branch that is still connected to the tree. This picture shows dry wood off the ground. Also, with this type of gathering there is a wide variety of sizes in the branches all in one place.


Pencil lead size
Types of wood:

Soft wood- pines, fire, hemlock, cedar
Burns hot, fast, and gives off lots of light.
Medium wood- cotton wood, aspen, poplar, willow
These make good cooking fires.
Hard wood- oak, walnut, hickory, maple, ash
Burns slowest, good heat, and great coals.
Wet wood burns 3-4 times longer that dry wood.
Green wood burns 8 times longer than dry wood.

Tee pee Fire
The great thing about the tee pee fire is that it is good for just about everything you would need for a basic camp. It gives off lots of light and sheds the rain. When lighting a tee pee fire, every layer lights the layer on top of it. So instead of adding wood to a small flame and building it up, get the structure built first and it will take care of itself!

The first layer is the tender bundle layer. This can be made for anything that is really small and really dry. Examples would be: dry grass, leaves, inner bark, or cat tail down.

Here I have some dry plant fiber I got from a natural twine. ( I know my fire pit should have been clean up more from the debris)

Here I have my pencil lead thick twigs on top of my tender. (There really are dry even thought they look green)

If I really wanted to make sure that my flame lasted a bit longer in wet conditions, I have some pitch gathered on a leaf.

Now, the next layer.

Notice that I have left a door in my fire. This way I still have access to my first layer.

I have some wood off to the side to fill in the door once I light the structure.

There are lots more that can be covered about fire structure. Always be safe and think about what you are doing but also experiment.
I can not take credit for this knowledge. Most of what I have learn, I learn at the Tracker School.
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