Welcome to part one of our two part Winter Fire Skills Series. This post will cover the importance of Fire Prep. Next week we will be diving into building a platform fire in the snow.
Understanding the fundamentals of fire prep is crucial when it comes to building a fire.
When prepping for your fire, you want to first take a minute and assess your needs. How long does my fire need to burn for? Am I in a location that has good access to fuel for a fire? Am I protected from the wind / snow / rain? Once you’ve determined your needs, put together a plan and begin prepping your fire.
4 steps to good fire prep:
Step 1. Select your site
Ideally, you will want to find a place that has some tree cover, so that you are protected from wind and precipitation and also in close proximity to a source of fuel (wood).
Step 2. Gather and collect dry tinder and wood
The First thing you want to do is gather and process as much wood as you can for the fire. When gathering your fuel and tinder, avoid twigs and branches that are already on the ground. Instead, look up high for twigs on trees and bushes that have recently shed their snow.
When looking for larger pieces, try to find a downed log with a dry end sticking out of the ground that you can cut from.
Step 3. Process your firewood
There are many different ways to process your firewood. We prefer the batoning method because a knife is light and it tends to be safer than swinging a hatchet. Batoning does take some practice, so take some time to learn the technique before you actually need it. Logs will always be dryer near the core. If you’re having a hard time finding dry kindling, start with a medium sized log and baton your way down towards the dry core of the log. You can learn more about batoning here.
Step 4. Organize your fuel
Once you have all of your tinder, kindling and fuel processed, It’s important to organize all of your material from the smallest pieces to the largest pieces. As you begin to build your fire, you will need to move quickly and by having everything organized, you won’t waste precious time looking for the next piece of wood that you need.
Note: If you find yourself in a survival situation and you will need to be burning wood all night, make sure to prep enough wood. The last thing you want to do is wake up in the middle of the night without a fire and without anymore fuel to start a new one.
Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in next week for Winter Fire Skills Part 2: Building a Platform Fire in the Snow.