How To Build A Fire – Essential Survival Skill

There are as many ways to successfully build a fire as there are as many ways to fail… or rather struggle more than you need to.  But the fact remains: Building a fire is essential to survival,  fire is also an essential element in camping, backyard bbq’s, cold nights at the cabin and romantic ambiance… yeah, this is a skill you want, need and should command.  If you are a rookie or novice to making a camp fire, we have outlined simple step-by-step directions to successfully get a fire lit and rolling.  Learning this technique and practicing it by helping every time there is a fire to be made.  As far as survival skills go, the ability for humans to make fire is absolutely essential.  Here is the Outlast.Today Foundation For Fire Building tutorial.

Step 1

Fire Preparation. Determine where you would like your fire to be and build a pit out of stones. The stones will keep the fire contained within the pit as well as maintain and help radiate heat.  The stones can even provide a cooking surface or structure if desired.  Clear away any dry brush from around the fire pit that could easily catch fire from a stray ember (use that material as tinder fuel for your fire if it is right).  Once your fire pit is established it is time to gather needed fuel materials for the fire to start, catch and burn. These materials are going to consist of tinder (a fire starter such as dry paper, wood shavings, pine needles, cotton etc.). Then you will need to gather a good pile of small to mid-sized twigs, sticks and branches ranging in size of about your small finger to the size of your wrist. Finally you will need to find some thicker dry logs that will be the main source of fuel to your fire.

Step 2

Tinder.  Make a loose pile of tinder in the center of your fire pit. Be sure it is not too tight as your fire needs to breath.

Step 3

Teepee.  Build a pyramid or tepee around the tinder pile with the smallest of the twigs and sticks you gathered.  Don’t go overboard here, you want to keep space for the tinder to breath, and for you to add additional starting tinder while you are working to get your fire lit.  These smaller branches will easily catch fire from the tinder, and will also burn longer and hotter than the tinder, and enough to catch larger fuel on fire.

Step 4

Light the fire with a match, lighter or other fire starting technique.  Light the tinder from all sides. You can gently blow on the flames to stoke the fire, increasing the heat to ignite the small branches.

Step 5

Add Fuel.  As the fire starts to grow, continue to feed it with branches gradually increasing in thickness as you work up to the logs. Again, you can gently blow on the flames to stoke the fire to increase the heat.  You should build the fire to the point your fire will require minimal maintenance and should produce plenty of heat.  Enjoy!!!

Step 6

Extinguishing your fire.  It is extremely important that your fire is put out completely before leaving the area unattended.  To do this, open up the fire by spreading the logs out within the fire pit using a stick or shovel.  Then use a combination of smothering with sand or dirt, dousing with water and stirring the ashes until there is no more smoke.  If you build the fire, then it is your responsibility to put that fire out.  You build it, you put it out; that is the rule of building a camp fire.


The team at Outlast.Today would love for our community members to post pictures below of your coolest camp fire, beach fire, or fire in your homes fireplace.  POST

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