The ability to make and maintain a fire is a significant psychological factor that will push you to go further and survive. You won’t give up if you manage to build a shelter and make a fire, to make a temporary “home”. Making a fire can be simple, but making the right type of fire and knowing how to use it is something totally different.
There are many different types of fire to choose from and it all depends on what you need the fire for. Each fire type described in this article suits a particular kind of needs. You have to know how to craft it and how to make the best use of it.
When you are making a fire in the wild, your primary consideration shout be the function of the fire. For some, warmth is the most urgent requirement. Depending on the fire type, you can also use it for: cooking, drying wet clothing, signaling or even disposing of waste.
Before you make a fire, you should also consider the availability of the elements you need to build it. Is the fuel enough for your needs? Is the ground prepared for making a fire? Estimate how much you think you need and double it, just to make sure you succeed.
Below you can see how to make a certain fire type and what to use it for:
Fire Type: Teepee
How to make it: You put a tinder ball on the ground and you surround it with kindling in the shape of a teepee. In order for the fire to last you have to arrange small, medium and large fuel logs in a square at the food of the teepee. When making a teepee fire, we have to keep in mind that this fire type requires lots of fuel, so firewood has to be abundant.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: This fire type is quick to light and you have the advantage to burn wet wood. The inner fire will help to dry and burn the wet wood so you don’t have to worry and search for dry firewood. This fire type is used mainly for warmth and cooking, but if you are in distress you can also use it for signaling (if you burn green vegetation).
Related reading: How to signal for help in the wild
Fire Type: Long Log
How to make it: To make this fire type you will have to dig a 6 feet (2m) ditch that will house the tinder, kindling and fuel wood. Once you light the fire and it starts burning constantly you have to lay two long fuel logs on top of it. You have to be in a forested area in order to build this fire type. You will require long logs and it works best if the fuel logs are dry.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: The long log fire is ideal to keep warmth during cold weather and many hikers used this method to stay warm since this fire type emits a great deal of heat. You can build a fire either side of you, just to be sure you’ve done it the right way. This fire type is a long-lasting one and it can stay a light all night. It can also be used for cooking once embers have formed.
Related reading: Improvised survival cooking
Fire Type: Stone-lined
How to make it: In order to build this fire type you need to find some large non-porous rocks and arrange them in a circle. Once you have a nice round shape you place the tinder ball in the middle with kindling around it. Once the fire is established you can add fuel logs for as long as you consider. This fire type is ideal for windy locations and it has a minimal impact on the environment.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: By using this type of fire you will be able to reduce the fire’s impact on the environment. The stones will shelter fire from wind and you won’t have to pay close attention to it. It is the most common fire type and it is used for warmth and cooking. Just like the teepee fire, it can also be used in case you need to signal for help.
Fire Type: Automatic
How to make it: To make this type of fire you have to dig a hole that is 3 feet (1m)deep. Once you have the hole ready you have to line it with non-porous stones so that it doesn’t collapse. Put tinder and kindling inside and make sure to rest large logs against the sides of the hole. These logs will drop down as they burn, creating more fuel for the fire.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: This fire type is made in an environment with sandy earth where digging can be done easier. It’s a self-feeding fire that once lit, will no longer require you to add fuel. Its main use is for cooking but also for signaling. Some people prefer to cover it with large rocks once the fuel logs dropped and use it for baking.
Fire Type: Snake hole
How to make it: To make this fire you have to dig a hole in the side of a bank and a chimney up through the earth. You can use any type of fuel to light the fire inside. It’s an ideal fire for a rock-free earth and windy locations.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: This is a high temperature fire that lights fast due to the draft created by the chimney. It is sheltered from the elements. All you have to worry is to add some more fuel when it’s required. You can use this fire for warmth, cooking and waste disposal.
Fire Type: Star-shaped
How to make it: Start by building a fire from tinder, kindling and any other type of available fuel. Once the fire is lit, arrange six logs so that they meet in the middle. Pay attention to the fire and push logs in as they burn. It’s a fire that can be done in forested areas because you will need logs to keep it going.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: This is a long lasting fire that is ideal for cooking. You can balance a pot or pan on the logs to make your life easier. It’s also good for heating water and it provides a good amount of embers for cooking.
Fire Type: Hunter
How to make it: To build this fire you first have to make a fire out of tinder and any other type of fuel that is available. Once the fire is lit you need to place two long logs either side of the fire in a V shape. It’s a fire suited for windy or cold locations and it’s easy to make.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: This fire produces a great deal of heat and it will keep you warm during cold times. The hardwood logs will protect the fire from the wind and it will keep it going for a long time. You can also use this type of fire for cooking. You can place a pot or pan on the logs and scoop some of the ember for an even cooking.
Fire Type: Dakota Hole
How to make it: To make this fire type you have to dig two holes and it requires a little bit of practice. Dig a large hole for the fire and a slightly smaller hole for the chimney. You have to link the two holes in order to the fire to create a concentrated heat. You will have to use small logs as fuel and cook at ground level.
Why should you make such a fire type and how to use it: The fire is hidden as the flames are below ground and it’s difficult to be spotted. The smaller hole creates an air flow that strengthens the fire produces a concentrated heat. It requires little fuel once the fire is established and it’s ideal for cooking. It can also be used for drying wet clothing and keeping warm. Some people use this type of fire to dry meat and store it for later use.
Consider this before you start making a fire:
What will you need the fire for and will it suits all your needs?
Do you have all the burning materials you need and do you have enough fuel to keep it going?
Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Choose a fire that requires the least effort for the maximum gain.
As you’ve seen from the examples provided a fire can be more than it looks. It can serve multiple needs in the wilderness. I hope that you found this guide useful and that you now know how to choose the right fire type for your necessities.
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