a. The need for a fire should be placed high on the list of priorities. Fire
is used for warmth, light, drying clothes, signaling, making tools, cooking, and
water purification. When using fire for warmth, the body uses less calories for
heat and consequently requires less food. Just having a fire to sit by is a
morale booster. Smoke from a fire can be used to discourage insects.
b. Avoid building a very large fire. Small fires require less fuel, are
easier to control, and their heat can be concentrated. Never leave a fire
unattended unless it is banked or contained. Banking a fire is done by scraping
cold ashes and dry earth onto the fire, leaving enough air coming through the
dirt at the top to keep the fuel smoldering. This will keep the fire safe and
allow it to be rekindled from the saved coals.
16-2. Elements of Fire:
a. The three essential elements for successful fire building are fuel, heat,
and oxygen. These combined elements are referred to as the "fire
triangle." By limiting fuel, only a small fire is produced. If the fire is
not fed properly, there is too much or too little fire. Green fuel is difficult
to ignite, and the fire must be burning well before it is used for fuel. Oxygen
and heat must be accessible to ignite any fuel.
b. The survivor must take time and prepare well! Preparing all of the stages
of fuel and all of the parts of the fire starting apparatus is the key. To be
successful at firecraft, one needs to practice and be patient.
c. The fuels used in building a fire normally fall into three categories
(Figure 16-1) relating to their size and flash point: tinder, kindling, and
Figure 16-1. Stages
of a Fire.
(1) Tinder is any type of small material having a low flash point. It is easily
ignited with a minimum of heat, even a spark. Tinder must be arranged to allow
air (oxygen) between the hair-like, bone-dry fibers. The preparation of tinder
for fire is one of the most important parts of firecraft. Dry tinder is so
critical that pioneers used extreme care to have some in a waterproof
"tinder box" at all times. It may be necessary to have two or three
stages of tinder to get the flame to a useful size. Tinders include:
(a) The shredded bark from some trees and bushes.
(b) Cedar, birch bark, or palm fiber.
(c) Crushed fibers from dead plants.
(d) Fine, dry woodshavings, and straw/grasses.
(e) Resinous sawdust.
(f) Very fine pitch woodshavings (resinous wood from pine or sappy
(g) Bird or rodent nest linings.
(h) Seed down (milkweed, cattail, thistle).
(i) Charred cloth.
(j) Cotton balls or lint.
(k) Steel wool.
(l) Dry powdered sap from the pine tree family (also known as pitch).
(n) Foam rubber.
(2) Kindling is the next larger stage of fuel material. It should also have a
high combustible point. It is added to, or arranged over, the tinder in such a
way that it ignites when the flame from the tinder reaches it. Kindling is used
to bring the burning temperature up to the point where larger and less
combustible fuel material can be used. Kindling includes:
(a) Dead dry small twigs or plant fibers.
(b) Dead dry thinly shaved pieces of wood, bamboo, or cane (always split
bamboo as sections can explode).
(c) Coniferous seed cones and needles.
(d) "Squaw wood" from the underside of coniferous trees; dead,
small branches next to the ground sheltered by the upper live part of the
(e) Pieces of wood removed from the insides of larger pieces.
(f) Some plastics such as the spoon from an in-flight ration.
(g) Wood which has been soaked or doused with flammable materials; that is,
wax, insect repellent, petroleum fuels, and oil.
(h) Strips of petrolatum gauze from a first aid kit.
(i) Dry split wood burns readily because it is drier inside. Also the
angular portions of the wood burn easier than the bark-covered round pieces
because it exposes more surface to the flame. The splitting of all fuels will
cause them to burn more readily.
(3) Fuel, unlike tinder and kindling, does not have to be kept completely dry as
long as there is enough kindling to raise the fuel to a combustible temperature.
It is recommended that all fine materials be protected from moisture to prevent
excessive smoke production. (Highly flammable liquids should not be poured on an
existing fire. Even a smoldering fire can cause the liquids to explode and cause
serious burns.) The type of fuel used will determine the amount of heat and
light the fire will produce. Dry split hardwood trees (oak, hickory, monkey pod,
ash) are less likely to produce excessive smoke and will usually provide more
heat than soft woods. They may also be more difficult to break into usable
sizes. Pine and other conifers are fast-burning and produce smoke unless a large
flame is maintained. Rotten wood is of little value since it smolders and
smokes. The weather plays an important role when selecting fuel. Standing or
leaning wood is usually dry inside even if it is raining. In tropical areas,
avoid selecting wood from trees that grow in swampy areas or those covered with
mosses. Tropical soft woods are not usually a good fuel source. Trial and error
is sometimes the best method to determine which fuel is best. After identifying
the burning properties of available fuel, a selection can be made of the type
needed. Recommended fuel sources are:
(a) Dry standing dead wood and dry dead branches (those that snap when
broken). Dead wood is easy to split and break. It can be pounded on a rock or
wedged between other objects and bent until it breaks.
(b) The insides of fallen trees and large branches may be dry even if the
outside is wet. The heart wood is usually the last to rot.
(c) Green wood which can be made to burn is found almost anywhere,
especially if finely split and mixed evenly with dry dead wood.
(d) In treeless areas, other natural fuels can be found. Dry grasses can be
twisted into bunches. Dead cactus and other plants are available in deserts.
Dry peat moss can be found along the surface of undercut stream banks. Dried
animal dung, animal fats, and sometimes even coal can be found on the surface.
Oil impregnated sand can also be used when available.
16-3. Fire Location. The location of
a fire should be carefully selected. An old story is told of a mountain man who
used his last match to light a fire built under a snow-covered tree. The heat
from the fire melted the snow and it slid off the tree and put out the fire. For
a survivor, this type of accident can be very demoralizing or even deadly.
Locate and prepare the fire carefully.
16-4. Fire Site Preparation:
a. After a site is located, twigs, moss, grass, or duff should be cleaned
away. Scrape at least a 3-foot diameter area down to bare soil for even a small
fire. Larger fires require a larger area. If the fire must be built on snow,
ice, or wet ground, survivors should build a platform of green logs or rocks.
(Beware of wet or porous rocks, they may explode when heated.)
b. There is no need to dig a hole or make a circle of rocks in preparation
for fire building. Rocks may be placed in a circle and filled with dirt, sand,
or gravel to raise the fire above the moisture from wet ground. The purpose of
these rocks is to hold the platform only.
c. To get the most warmth from the fire, it should be built against a rock or
log reflector (Figure 16-2). This
will direct the heat into the shelter. Cooking fires can be walled-in by logs or
stones. This will provide a platform for cooking utensils and serve as a
windbreak to help keep the heat confined.
Figure 16-2. Fire
d. After preparing the fire, all materials should be placed together and
arranged by size (tinder, kindling, and fuel). As a rule of thumb, survivors
should have three times the amount of tinder and kindling than is necessary for
one fire. It is to their advantage to have too much than not enough. Having
plenty of material on hand will prevent the possibility of the fire going out
while additional material is gathered.
16-5. Firemaking With
Matches (or Lighter):
a. Survivors should arrange a small amount of kindling in a low pyramid,
close enough together so flames can jump from one piece to another. A small
opening should be left for lighting and air circulation.
b. Matches can be conserved by using a "shave stick," or by using a
loosely tied fagot of thin, dry twigs. The match must be shielded from wind
while igniting the shave stick. The stick can then be applied to the lower
windward side of the kindling.
c. Small pieces of wood or other fuel can be laid gently on the kindling
before lighting or can be added as the kindling begins to burn. The survivors
can then place smaller pieces first, adding larger pieces of fuel as the fire
begins to burn. They should avoid smothering the fire by crushing the kindling
with heavy wood.
d. Survivors only have a limited number of matches or other instant
fire-starting devices. In a long-term situation, they should use these devices
sparingly or carry fire with them when possible. Many primitive cultures carry
fire (fire bundles) by using dry punk or fibrous barks (cedar) encased in a
bark. Others use torches. Natural fire bundles also work well for holding the
fire (Figure 16-3).
Figure 16-3. Fire
e. The amount of oxygen must be just enough to keep the coals inside the dry
punk burning slowly. This requires constant vigilance to control the rate of the
burning process. The natural fire bundle is constructed in a cross section as
shown in Figure 16-3.
16-6. Heat Sources. A supply of
matches, lighters, and other such devices will only last a limited time. Once
the supply is depleted, they cannot be used again. If possible, before the need
arises, survivors should become skilled at starting fires with more primitive
means, such as friction, heat, or a sparking device. It is essential that they
continually practice these procedures. The need to start a fire may arise at the
most inopportune times. One of the greatest aids a survivor can have for rapid
fire starting is the "tinder box" previously mentioned. Using
friction, heat, and sparks are very reliable methods for those who use them on a
regular basis. Therefore, survivors must practice these methods. Survivors must
be aware of the problems associated with the use of primitive heat sources. If
the humidity is high in the immediate area, a fire may be difficult to ignite
even if all other conditions are favorable. For primitive methods to be
successful, the materials must be BONE DRY. The primitive people who use these
ignition methods take great care to keep their tinder, kindling, and other fuels
dry, even to the point of wrapping many layers of waterproof materials around
it. PREPARATION, PRACTICE, and PATIENCE in the use of primitive fire-building
techniques cannot be over emphasized. A key point in all primitive methods is to
ensure that the tinder is not disturbed.
a. Flint and Steel:
(1) Flint and steel is one way to produce fire without matches.
(a) To use this method, survivors must hold a piece of flint in one hand
above the tinder.
(b) Grasp the steel in the other hand and strike the flint with the edge
of the steel in a downward glancing blow (Figure
16-4. Fire Starting With Flint and Steel.
(2) True flint is not necessary to produce sparks. Iron pyrite and quartz
will also give off sparks even if they are struck against each other. Check
the area and select the best spark-producing stone as a backup for the
available matches. The sparks must fall on the tinder and then be blown or
fanned to produce a coal and subsequent flame.
(3) Synthetic flint, such as the so-called metal match, consists of the
same type material used for flints in commercial cigarette lighters. Some
contain magnesium which can be scraped into tinder and into which the spark is
struck. The residue from the "match" burns hot and fast and will
compensate for some moisture in tinder. If issued survival kits do not contain
this item and the survivors choose to make one rather than buy it, lighter
flints can be glued into a groove in a small piece of wood or plastic. The
survivors can then practice striking a spark by scratching the flint with a
knife blade. A 90-degree angle between the blade and flint works best. The
device must be held close enough for the sparks to hit the tinder, but enough
distance must be allowed to avoid accidentally extinguishing the fire. Cotton
balls dipped in petroleum jelly make excellent tinder with flint and steel.
When the tinder ignites, additional tinder, kindling, and fuel can be added.
(1) Another method of producing fire is to use the battery of the aircraft,
vehicle, storage batteries, etc. Using two insulated wires, connect one end of
a wire to the positive post of the battery and the end of the other wire to
the negative post. Touch the two remaining ends to the ends of a piece of
non-insulated wire. This will cause a short in the electrical circuit and the
non-insulated wire will begin to glow and get hot. Material coming into
contact with this hot wire will ignite. Survivors should use caution when
attempting to start a fire with a battery. They should ensure that sparks or
flames are not produced near the battery because explosive hydrogen gas is
produced and can result in serious injury (Figure
16-5. Fire Starting With Batteries.
(2) If fine grade steel wool is available, a fire may be started by
stretching it between the positive and negative posts until the wire itself
makes a red coal.
c. Burning Glass. If survivors have sunlight and a burning glass, a fire can
be started with very little physical effort (Figure
16-6). Concentrate the rays of the Sun on tinder by using the lens of a
lensatic compass, a camera lens, or the lens of a flashlight which magnifies;
even a convex piece of bottle glass may work. Hold the lens so that the
brightest and smallest spot of concentrated light falls on the tinder. Once a
wisp of smoke is produced, the tinder should be fanned or blown upon until the
smoking coal becomes a flame. Powdered charcoal in the tinder will decrease the
ignition time. Add kindling carefully as in any other type of fire. Practice
will reduce the time it takes to light the tinder.
16-6. Fire Starting With Burning Glass.
d. Flashlight Reflector. A flashlight reflector can also be used to start a
16-7). Place the tinder in the center of the reflector where the bulb is
usually located. Push it up from the back of the hole until the hottest light is
concentrated on the end and smoke results. If a cigarette is available, use it
as a tinder for this method.
16-7. Fire Starting With Flashlight Reflector.
e. Bamboo Fire Saw:
(1) The bamboo fire saw is constructed from a section of dry bamboo with
both end joints cut off. The section of bamboo, about 12 inches in length, is
split in half lengthwise. The inner wall of one of the halves (called the
"running board") is scraped or shaved thin. This is done in the
middle of the running board. A notch to serve as a guide is cut in the outer
sheath opposite the scraped area of the inner wall. This notch runs across the
running board at a 90-degree angle (Figure
Figure 16-8. Bamboo
(2) The other half of the bamboo joint is further split in half lengthwise,
and one of the resultant quarters is used as a "baseboard." One edge
of the baseboard is shaved down to make a tapered cutting edge. The baseboard
is then firmly secured with the cutting edge up. This may be done by staking
it to the ground in any manner which does not allow it to move (Figure
(3) Tinder is made by scraping the outer sheath of the remaining quarter
piece of the bamboo section. The scrapings (approximately a large handful) are
then rubbed between the palms of the hands until all of the wood fibers are
broken down and dust-like material no longer falls from the tinder. The ball
of scrapings is then fluffed to allow maximum circulation of oxygen through
the mass (Figure 16-8).
(4) The finely shredded and fluffed tinder is placed in the running board
directly over the shaved area, opposite the outside notch. Thin strips of
bamboo should be placed lengthwise in the running board to hold the tinder in
place. These strips are held stationary by the hands when grasping the ends of
the running board (Figure 16-8).
(5) A long, very thin sliver of bamboo (called the "pick") should
be prepared for future use. One end of the running board is grasped in each
hand, making sure the thin strips of bamboo are held securely in place. The
running board is placed over the baseboard at a right angle, so that the
cutting edge of the baseboard fits into the notch in the outer sheath of the
running board. The running board is then slid back and forth as rapidly as
possible over the cutting edge of the baseboard, with sufficient downward
pressure to ensure enough friction to produce heat.
(6) As soon as "billows" of smoke rise from the tinder, the
running board is picked up. The pick is used to push the glowing embers from
the bottom of the running board into the mass of tinder. While the embers are
being pushed into the tinder, they are gently blown upon until the tinder
bursts into flame.
(7) As soon as the tinder bursts into flame, slowly add kindling in small
pieces to avoid smothering the fire. Fuel is gradually added to produce the
desired size fire. If the tinder is removed from the running board as soon as
it flames, the running board can be reused by cutting a notch in the outer
sheath next to the original notch and directly under the scraped area of the
f. Bow and Drill:
(1) This is a friction method which has been used successfully for
thousands of years. A spindle of yucca, elm, basswood, or any other straight
grain wood (not softwood) should be made. The survivors should make sure that
the wood is not too hard or it will create a glazed surface when friction is
applied. The spindle should be 12 to 18 inches long and three-fourths inch in
diameter. The sides should be octagonal, rather than round, to help create
friction when spinning. Round one end and work the other end into a blunt
point. The round end goes to the top upon which the socket is placed. The
socket is made from a piece of hardwood large enough to hold comfortably in
the palm of the hand with the curved part up and the flat side down to hold
the top of the spindle. Carve or drill a hole in this side and make it smooth
so it will not cause undue friction and heat production. Grease or soap can be
placed in this hole to prevent friction (Figure
Figure 16-9. Bow and
(2) The bow is made from a stiff branch about 3 feet long and about 1 inch
in diameter. This piece should have sufficient flexibility to bend. It is
similar to a bow used to shoot arrows. Tie a piece of suspension line or
leather thong to both ends so that it has the same tension as that of a bow.
There should be enough tension for the spindle to twist comfortably.
(3) The fireboard is made of the softwood and is about 12 inches long,
three-fourths inch thick, and 3 to 6 inches wide. A small hollow should be
carved in the fireboard. A V-shaped cut can then be made in from the edge of
the board. This V-shape should extend into the center of the hollow where the
spindle will make the hollow deeper. The object of this "V" cut is
to create an angle which cuts off the edge of the spindle as it gets hot and
turns to charcoal dust. This is the critical part of the fireboard and must be
held steady during the operation of spinning the spindle.
(4) While kneeling on one knee, the other foot can be placed on the
fireboard as shown in Figure 16-9 and the tinder placed under the fireboard
just beneath the V-cut. Care should be taken to avoid crushing the tinder
under the fireboard. Space can be obtained by using a small, three-fourths
inch diameter stick to hold up the fireboard. This allows air into the tinder
where the hot powder (spindle charcoal dust) is collected.
(5) The bow string should be twisted once around the spindle. The spindle
can then be placed upright into the spindle hollow (socket). The survivor may
press the socket down on the spindle and fireboard. The entire apparatus must
be held steady with the hand on the socket braced against the leg or knee. The
spindle should begin spinning with long even slow strokes of the bow until
heavy smoke is produced. The spinning should become faster until the smoke is
very thick. At this point, hot powder, that can be blown into a glowing ember,
has been successfully produced. The bow and spindle can then be removed from
the fireboard and the tinder can be placed next to the glowing ember making
sure not to extinguish it. The tinder must then be rolled gently around the
burning ember, and blow into the embers, starting the tinder to burn. This
part of the fire is most critical and should be done with care and planning.
(6) The burning tinder is then placed into the waiting fire "lay"
containing more tinder and small kindling. At no time in this process should
the survivor break concentration or change sequence. The successful use of
these primitive methods of fire starting will require a great deal of
patience. Success demands dedication and practice.
g. The Fire Thong. The fire thong, another friction method, is used in only
those tropical regions where rattan is found. The system is simple and consists
of a twisted rattan thong or other strong plant fiber, 4 to 6 feet long, less
than 1 inch in diameter, and a 4-foot length of dry wood which is softer than
rattan (deciduous wood) (Figure 16-10).
Rub with a steady but increasing rhythm.
Figure 16-10. Fire Thong.
h. The Plow. The plow is a method used by some primitives and basically
follows the principles of other friction methods. The wood used must not glaze
with heat applied and must be able to produce powder with friction.
i. Ground Stake. Another variation can be constructed by driving a stake into
the ground as shown in Figure 16-11.
Figure 16-11. Fire Plow.
16-7. Firemaking With
a. The night end of the day-night flare can be used as a fire starter. This
means, however, that survivors must weigh the importance of a fire against the
loss of a night flare.
b. Some emergency kits contain small fire starters, cans of special fuels,
windproof matches, and other aids. Survivors should save the fire starters for
use in extreme cold and damp (moist) weather conditions.
c. The white plastic spoon (packed in various in-flight rations) may be the
type that burns readily. The handle should be pushed deep enough into the ground
to support the spoon in an upright position. Light the tip of the spoon. It will
burn for about 10 minutes (long enough to dry out and ignite small tinder and
d. If a candle is available, it should be ignited to start a fire and thus
prevent using more than one match. As soon as the fire is burning, the candle
can be extinguished and saved for future use.
e. Tinder can be made more combustible by adding a few drops of flammable
fuel/material. An example of this would be mixing the powder from an ammunition
cartridge with the tinder. After preparing tinder in this manner, it should be
stored in a waterproof container for future use. Care must be used in handling
this mixture because the flash at ignition could burn the skin and clothing.
f. For thousands of years, the Eskimos and other northern peoples have relied
heavily upon oils from animals to heat their homes. A fat stove or
"Koodlik" is used by the Eskimos to burn this fuel.
g. Survivors can improvise a stove from a ration can and burn any flammable
oil-type liquid or animal fats available. Here again, survivors should keep in
mind that if there is only a limited amount of animal fat, it should be eaten to
produce heat inside the body.
16-8. Burning Aircraft Fuel.
On barren lands in the arctic, aircraft fuel may be the only material survivors
have available for fire.
a. A stove can be improvised to burn fuel, lubricating oil, or a mixture of
both (Figure 16-12). The
survivor should place 1 or 2 inches of sand or fine gravel in the bottom of a
can or other container and add fuel. Cure should be used when lighting the fuel
because it may explode. Slots should be cut into the top of the can to let flame
and smoke out, and holes punched just above the level of the sand to provide a
draft. A mixture of fuel and oil will make the fire burn longer. If no can is
available, a hole can be dug and filled with sand. Fuel is then poured on the
sand and ignited. The survivor should not allow the fuel to collect in puddles.
Figure 16-12. Fat
and Oil Stoves.
b. Lubricating oil can be burned as fuel by using a wick arrangement. The
wick can be made of string, rope, rag, sphagnum moss, or even a cigarette and
should be placed on the edge of a receptacle filled with oil. Rags, paper, wood,
or other fuel can be soaked in oil and thrown on the fire.
c. A stove can be made of any empty waxed carton by cutting off one end and
punching a hole in each side near the unopened end. Survivors can stand the
carton on the closed end and loosely place the fuel inside the carton. The stove
can then be lit using fuel material left hanging over the end. The stove will
burn from the top down.
d. Seal blubber makes a satisfactory fire without a container if gasoline or
heat tablets are available to provide an initial hot flame (Figure
16-13). The heat source should be ignited on the raw side of the blubber
while the fur side is on the ice. A square foot of blubber burns for several
hours. Once the blubber catches fire, the heat tablets can be recovered. Eskimos
light a small piece of blubber and use it to kindle increasingly larger pieces.
The smoke from a blubber fire is dirty, black, and heavy. The flame is very
bright and can be seen for several miles. The smoke will penetrate clothing and
blacken the skin.
16-13. Heat Tablet/Seal Blubber.
16-9. Useful Firecraft Hints:
a. Conserve matches by only using them on properly prepared fires. They
should never be used to light cigarettes or for starting unnecessary fires.
b. Carry some dry tinder in a waterproof container. It should be exposed to
the Sun on dry days. Adding a little powdered charcoal will improve it. Cotton
cloth is good tinder, especially if scorched or charred. It works well with a
burning glass or flint and steel.
c. Remember that firemaking can be a difficult job in an arctic environment.
The main problem is the availability of firemaking materials. Making a. fire
starts WELL before the match is lit. The fire must be protected from the wind.
In wooded areas, standing timber and brush usually make a good windbreak but in
open areas, some type of windbreak may have to be constructed. A row of
snowblocks, the shelter of a ridge, or a pile of brush will work as a windbreak.
It must be high enough to shield the fire from the wind. It may also act as a
heat reflector if it is of solid material.
d. Remember, a platform will be required to prevent the fire from melting
down through the deep snow and extinguishing it. A platform is also needed if
the ground is moist or swampy. The platform can be made of green logs, metal, or
any material that will not burn through very readily. Care must be taken when
selecting an area for fire building. If the area has a large accumulation of
humus material and (or) peat, a platform is needed to avoid igniting the
material as it will tend to smolder long after the flames of the fire are
extinguished. A smoldering peat fire is almost impossible to put out and may
burn for years.
e. In forested areas, the debris on the ground and the lichen mat should be
cleared away to mineral soil, if possible, to prevent the fire from spreading.
f. The ignition source used to ignite the fire must be quick and easily operated
with hand protection such as mittens. Any number of devices will work
well-matches, candle, lighter, fire starter, metal matches, etc.
16-10. Fire Lays. Most fires are built
to meet specific needs or uses, either heat, light, or preparing food and water.
The following configurations are the most commonly used for fires and serve one
or more needs (Figure 16-14).
Figure 16-14. Fire Lays.
(1) The tepee fire can be used as a light source and has a concentrated
heat point directly above the apex of the tepee which is ideal for boiling
water. To build:
(a) Place a large handful of tinder on the ground in the middle of the
(b) Push a stick into the ground, slanting over the tinder.
(c) Then lean a circle of kindling sticks against the slanting stick,
like a tepee, with an opening toward the windward side for draft.
(2) To light the fire:
(a) Crouch in front of the fire lay with the back to the wind.
(b) Feed the fire from the downwind side, first with thin pieces of fuel,
then gradually with thicker pieces.
(c) Continue feeding until the fire has reached the desired size. The
tepee fire has one big drawback. It tends to fall over easily. However, it
serves as an excellent starter fire.
b. Log Cabin. As the name implies, this lay looks similar to a log cabin. Log
cabin fires give off a great amount of light and heat primarily because of the
amount of oxygen which enters the fire. The log cabin fire creates a quick and
large bed of coals and can be used for cooking or as the basis for a signal
fire. If one person or a group of people are going to use the coals for cooking,
the log cabin can be modified into a long fire or a keyhole fire.
c. Long Fire. The long fire begins as a trench, the length of which is layed
to take advantage of existing wind. The long fire can also be built above ground
by using two parallel green logs to hold the coals together. These logs should
be at least 6 inches in diameter and situated so the cooking utensils will rest
upon the logs. Two l-inch thick sticks can be placed under both logs, one at
each end of the long fire. This is done to allow the coals to receive more air.
d. Keyhole Fire. To construct a keyhole fire, a hole is dug in the shape of
an old style keyhole and does the same thing as the long fire.
e. Pyramid Fire. The pyramid fire looks similar to a log cabin fire except
there are layers of fuel in place of a hollow framework. The advantage of a
pyramid fire is that it burns for a long time resulting in a large bed of coals.
This fire could possibly be used as an overnight fire when placed in front of a
f. Star Fire. This fire is used when conservation of fuel is necessary or a
small fire is desired. It burns at the center of the "wheel" and must
be constantly tended. Hardwood fuels work best with this type of fire.
g. "T" Fire. Used for large group cooking. The size of this lay may
be adjusted to meet the group's cooking needs. In the top part of the
"T," the fire is constructed and maintained as long as needed to
provide hot coals for cooking in the bottom part of the "T" fire lay.
The number of hot coals may be adjusted in the lower part of the "T"
fire lay to regulate the cooking temperature.
h. "V" Fire. This fire lay is a modification of the long fire. The
configuration allows a survivor to either block strong winds, or take advantage
of light breezes. During high wind conditions, the vertex of the
"V"-formed by the two outside logs - is placed in the direction from
which the winds are coming, thereby sheltering the tinder (kindling) for
ignition. Reversing the "lay" will funnel light breezes into the
tinder (kindling) thereby facilitating ease of ignition (Figure 16-1).