Friday, October 17, 2014

Building a Sustainable Fire In Wet Conditions

Building a Sustainable Fire In Wet Conditions:
Recently I looked through my posts and noticed that I didn't cover how to get a fire under nearly any conditions. So post roughly 36 hours of rain I went out to the fire area and decided I would make a fire with all of the wood I had laying around in the puddles outside. The video is of the entire process (I apologize that it shut off on me as I didn't realize it would automatically quit recording at 5% battery) from nothing but materials processed into piles by size to a shoulder width chest high fire. Be sure to look close at the wood as you will see water dripping out of some of it.... This stuff is WET!

Process overview In Pictures

1) The first step in your fire making process is to separate your wood into 3-4 piles: A) pencil size sticks A.K.A. "Smalls" (get as many as possible); B) Thumb sized sticks;  C) Wrist sized fuel; and D)  Thigh Sized fuel if you plan to make the fire last all night (not pictured in this post as I just wanted to start a sustainable fire).

2) Decent pile of finger sized A.K.A. "Medium Sized" sticks to add once your smalls catch fire

3) Wrist sized fuel pile to add once your Medium Sized sticks catch fire. This pile shows just how wet the wood is and that you can easily get a fire going with a sure fire method or a large tinder bundle.
4) Place your tinder bundle or sure fire into your fire area. Since there is standing water in the fire area I added a small piece of bark to act as my base in which I can place my sure fire on and it won't adsorb all of that water.
5)  One strike on a ferro rod later and the dryer lint I grabbed bursts into flame and is ready to accept smalls.
6)  Slowly add smalls to your tinder bundle/sure fire  being careful not to snuff out your fire. Remember chaos is the goal and oxygen for you fire is key. At this critical juncture don't be afraid to blow on the fire, fan it with your hat or in my case fan it with a piece of bark!
7) Once you have a good ignition of your smalls  you can begin to add sticks from your medium sized pile (or dump the rest of the smalls you have onto the pile randomly to get an even better fire base going).
8) Fire with medium sized sticks added and slowly coming up to combustion temperature (takes awhile with all of that moisture in the wood).

9) Once your Medium sized sticks have reached combustion you are able to begin adding your wrist sized sticks.

10) Medium sized sticks added to the fire (look at the water dripping off those sticks!) and nearing combustion.
11) One sustainable fire ready to add thigh sized logs to last you for the rest of the night. 


A sustainable fire is easily attainable with prior proper preparation of your materials. Separation of  those materials into piles based on when they need to be added to the fire will without a doubt give you the best chance of achieving fire in any conditions. Also don't skimp on your surefire or tinder bundle in wet conditions! Without a sufficient tinder bundle or enough surefire you simply will not be able to dry out your fuel to effect combustion.

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