Fire Survival Basics

Fire. It’s been with mankind since forever, right? Fulfilling so many of its needs and wants. Warmth, cooking, light…? What can’t it shed for us? When you talk about survival, it’s no secret that the ability to start a fire can sometimes be all the difference between life and death. Since it’s that important to have a grasp about, this guide will go into some fire survival basics.
Fire Survival Basics

Fire Survival Basics: Fire’s Pros and Cons

Fire is good

  • for it can provide warmth;
  • for it can help us cook;
  • for it can shed light;
  • for it can purify water;
  • for it can sterilize bandages;
  • for it can play the role as signal;
  • for it can provide morale boosts;
  • for it can ward off predators;
  • for it can make weapons and tools;

but also bad

  • for it can attract enemies;
  • for it can destroy if uncontrolled;
  • for it can poison;

Try to weigh in on both before creating one.

Fire Survival Basics: Basic Principles

There are three pillars to a fire. If any one of them is absent, there will be no fire. To enumerate, they are heat, fuel, and oxygen.

It kind of works like this. The heat first comes in contact with the fuel which creates a gas. That gas then proceeds to interact with oxygen or in other words with air. This interaction results in a fire.

Remember this triangle, for when you pull any of each out, the fire will fizzle out. Practice can lead to you being more effective in building fires. As it can give you a keener sense for the correct ratios to the triangle.

Fire Survival Basics: Choices

Deciding where to build a fire and in what arrangement is something you’ll encounter when you’re out there.


  • the area, that includes the terrain and climate, you are in;
  • the resources available;
  • the time you have;
  • the need for the fire;
  • the security it can bring or risk;

Try to look for dry spots that

  • are safe from the wind;
  • are thoughtfully located according to your shelter;
  • will concentrate heat to where you need;
  • has a supply of wood or other fuel readily available.

Some other things to also take note of: Try to clear a spot for your fire if you’re in a wooded or similarly covered area. If you’re also in the capacity to do so, you can make a firewall to help move heat to where you want it.

Fire Survival Basics: Materials

In brief, creating fire only needs three types of materials. These are tinder, kindling, and fuel. Tinder is material that’s dry, and must remain as so. It also ignites with just little heat. Kindling, on the other hand, is readily combustible material that you add to burning tinder. And for fuel, it is notably less combustible material that burns slowly and steadily once lit.

There are several ways for one to create a fire but we’ll reserve most of those methods for the future. It is important to realize that all those methods work on these fundamentals.

Here are some “Primitive Fire Building Techniques” you can immediately get started with learning.

Fire Piston Method: Fire Building Skills

We can start fires with air, and how does one do this you might ask? Well, one can make a fire piston, a device that’s been around for so long to start signal, camp and cooking fires. It’s mainly composed of a piston and cylinder, using compression to rapidly heat up tinder and turn it into coal. It’s most suggested for ease that one will use Charcloth as tinder.

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Two Man Hand Drill Technique: Firebuilding

If you remember the Hand Drill technique for building fires, this the Two Man Hand Drill technique is a modified version of that. The steps are quite similar but it’s much easier compared to the latter since, in this version, we have two people working side by side which distributes the work making it easier to create the fire.

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Hand Drill Method: Fire Building Skills

One of the oldest and simplest techniques to build a fire, the hand drill method employs spindle rotation and downward pressure to create friction that results in heat. This heat then creates an ember which starts our fire. This primitive way of building a fire best works in climates that are dry and it basically has two major components: namely the drill and the fireboard.

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Bow Drill Method: Fire Building Skills

Aside from water, fire is also one of the elements that is essential to our lives. It may sound so primitive but trying to learn a basic fire building technique by the use of a friction can be a great help for your own survival. It is an excellent emergency practice whenever you are in an outdoor activity.

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