Introduction: How to Start a Fire Using Flint and Steel
Please note that this should only be done with parental supervision. Starting a fire indoors can lead to building fires. Always perform outdoors.
Step 1: Find the Right Location
Select a location that can maintain a fire safely. Optimal locations are fire pits, rock pits, or holes that have been dug into the ground. It is best to select an area where the wind is minimal to none. Choose a designated area that is not close to dry grass or trees.
Step 2: Prepare the Site
For safety precautions, always have water set aside within 50 feet of the fire pit. If there is no access to water, use a shovel to throw dirt onto the fire if anything happens to get out of hand. Water or dirt can also be used to extinguish the flame after use.
Step 3: Find the Right Materials
When starting a fire, the materials being used should be dead and dry. Use a hacksaw, hatchet, or an ax to splinter wood into small, medium, and large pieces. The small pieces should be slivers ranging from 2-12 inches in length. The medium wood is the size of twigs smaller than the size of your pinky finger, and the large wood has a diameter of 2-10 inches. As the main fire starter, use dry grasses, orange (dead) pine needles, or paper. If wood being used has green underneath the bark or bends easily, it will be very difficult to start a fire. These signify that the wood is still alive and has moisture throughout the particles.
Step 4: Arrange the Material
Make a bed of dry material topped with the small splinters of previously cut wood. Be sure to slightly spread out your material, as oxygen is absolutely necessary to start a fire. A handful of each material should be a good starting point.
Step 5: Adding Magnesium Shavings
Using the toothed side of your tool, scrape the bottom side of the magnesium block. Angle your tool towards the center of the prepared material, and add shavings until they can be visibly seen. Magnesium is highly combustible, so add shavings as per preference.
Step 6: Position, Angle, and Pressure
Flip the magnesium block over so that the cylindrical mold is on now facing up. Hold the magnesium block in one hand, and your striker in the other. Use the smooth side of the striker to slide down the cylindrical bar. Angle the striker away from your body and firmly slide the striker on the cylindrical bar until sparks are generated. Keep in mind that this takes a fair amount of force and friction, so don't be shy to use some elbow grease. The closer you can strike to your material, the better.
Step 7: Slightly Blow on Sparks
Once sparks have came into contact with your material, it is time to begin adequately fueling the sparks. If needed, slightly blow on the sparks until a small flame is established and your material begins to smoke.
Step 8: Fuel the Fire
Slowly add small swigs, dry grasses, or fire-friendly materials to allow for the flame to grow. Be sure not to overwhelm the small flame, as adding too much material at once will cause the flame to become smothered and possibly burn out.
Step 9: Manage the Fire
Once the flame has taken a hold to the material, begin to add the medium and large pieces of wood to the fire. Add more small twigs or dry materials if needed.
Step 10: Extinguish the Fire
Individuals may choose to wait for the fire to burn out, or to use water or dirt to put the fire out safely. Before leaving the fire pit, be sure that all hot coals are now cold. This ensures that the fire cannot start again.