How to Make a Fire



Introduction: How to Make a Fire

Fire. Perhaps the most devastating and important thing on earth. It is used to cook, purify water(by boiling), smith blades and armors from and destroy information.

For many millenia man has been both scared of and in awe of this force, and as such it has been adapted to suit the individuals needs, from saving lives to destroying them.

Im writing this instructable to show you how to make fire, which may prove invaluable in the future.

Remember the old saying:

Black man make small fire, sits close
White man makes big fire, sits far.

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Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

Suitable ground

Step 2: What Is Fire?

Fire is the result of a fuel and oxidizer being burnt together. The fuel can be anything from wood, plastics, paper, rubber, metals(under special circumstances), petroleum by-products and gas. An oxidizer is of course oxygen, and anything that releases oxygen when heated.

Some very common source of fire are lighters, matches, jet turbines, car engines and forest fires. Fire is like a woman. Treat her right, and she'll do as you wish. Treat her wrong, and you better watch out. As such, if you intend to follow this instructable please be very careful with fire. Avoid using accelerants, and always keep small children, animals and flammable materials(that you dont want burnt) away from the site of your fire.

As a general rule, more oxygen = more heat.

Step 3: Safety

Before you decide to make a fire, ensure the area is clear. If your in the forest/woods, you will have to clear a small section of the ground, but atleast 2 meters from surrounding undergrowth and leaf matter. Ensure you have a bucket of water or a hose ready incase things get out of control. A fire extinguisher is better, but more people have access to a bucket/hose.

If you burn yourself, stick the affected part into the bucket of water and move around. It will help to bring the affected area back to body temperature and hopefully reduce damage and pain. If it is severe, get help asap. Dial 000(Australia) or 911(USA) to get help. Dont hesitate, if you fall unconscious from shock, nobody will find you until it's too late, and if you fall into the fire, then your chances are pretty slim. That said, always have a partner who is competent, and preferably trained in first aid.

Step 4: Tinder/Fire Starter

Alright, enough with all the introduction, you want to make a fire right? Fire off you will need tinder. Ideal tinder will be small, flammable but most importantly dry.

Some suitable tinder/fire starter includes;

Paper(toilet paper is ideal, but newspaper is alright)
Cotton wool(varies by brand, some types have chemicals which may affect it's ability to ignite)
Commercial fire starters(although these can be expensive)

Some unsuitable tinder/fire starter includes;

Liquids(Petrol or petroleum-based products, cooking oil, etc)
Plastics(gives off bad fumes aswell)
Large logs

Now that you have some tinder, lets move onto the second part of making our fire.

Step 5: Kindling

This is the next stage of our fire making quest. Ideal kindling is less than 5mm thick, and extremely dry. Ideally it will be 2-3mm, but several slightly larger pieces may be added after the smaller pieces have ignited. The most common mistake i have ever seen is people adding too much too soon. You have to allow it to ignite, and let as much oxygen reach it as possible. Remember? More oxygen = faster burn = more heat. You want that at this stage. Keep it loose, or break it into smaller pieces. If you have an axe, a larger log can be cut down(carefully!!) to smaller pieces. Remember to have enough to ignite a larger log, which can take a while depending on species and moisture content.

Step 6: Fuel

Fuel is what keeps your fire going after the kindling has burnt off. Ideally, it will be dry, and large enough to ignite from the burning kindling. Ideal fuel is from 2 to 20cm, but the smaller it is the faster it will burn, so if you want a really long burning fire, you should use a big log, but build your way up using a series of smaller logs to ensure you dont starve the fire of oxygen.

If your fire appears to be burning down soon after adding the log, remove the log, and add more tinder/kindling.

Step 7: Lighting the Fire

Finally, after selecting your ideal/available materials, you can make a fire.

Start by using a ball of newspaper/toilet paper. These light very quickly, and be careful. Next add a small amount of leaves, followed by small sticks/twigs. Slowly add the kindling, and wait for all of it to be burning gently before progressing. Finally add a large(ish) log, and allow to die down to a point you can cook on it. A well made fire will consume fuel very slowly, yet provide enough heat for your use. If your going to bed, allow the fire to either die down completely, so only coals and ash remain, or tip the water on it. If it's windy, consider using a windbreak. If it's raining, then dont try and light a fire, you'll just waste your time.

Step 8: Finished!

Now you hopefully know how to make a fire. This instructable has combined all my mental knowledge of how it's done, but that is the basics of it.

Vote for me if you like it :)

Safety first! Burns hurt.....Burnt finger tips are EXTREMELY painful, so take care, and dont set fire to the forest.

Thanks for reading!!!

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    3 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    just to say you are suppost to have photos you took first aid sign and the framable sign


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I know, but i couldnt get a clear enough pic of them, so i figured i'd just find one to illustrate my point. The photos that matter are all mine though.