Following on from my last fire blog, you should now have the basics right: the right amount of fuel ready and a good area cleared. Getting these basics right will get you a long way to having a successful fire. But there are a few more tricks that will help ensure you have a fire for survival and possibly cooking.
Using wood and shrub that is dead and preferably has had air circulating through it is better than wet, waterlogged or living branches. I don’t have a particular type of wood I favour, as it depends on where you are and what is available to you. But generally there is always something that is dry enough, even if it is something as simple as shredded bark.
Next get your tinder ready. This may be things like cotton wool, light twigs or shredded bark. Have a little tinder in a small pile with a space to put your spark or flame inside it. Once you get ignition, it is important to have a nice substantial pile of tinder and kindling beside your fire ready to go on. Add a couple of good handfuls of tinder on top, but make sure you don’t stop the oxygen from circulating the fire. Once this has caught on you should have a nice flame, but that won’t last for long as tinder burns very quickly.
Now start adding the kindling, a couple of pieces at a time. Once that starts burning well keep adding more kindling until there is a glow with good embers starting to form. Now you can add larger pieces – but not too much and only when the fire is burning hot and is ready for more fuel. When the flame has burned down and there is a base of hot embers and only a small flame burning, you can start using the fire for cooking.