Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Start a Fire

The single greatest thing about camping in the great outdoors, is building a fire.

I credit fire-building to soothing the deepest emotional wounds, and I suppose if the LPGA pissed me off enough the fire could also inflict the deepest physical wounds too...which is another sort of "healing," if a felonious one.

And if building a fire doesn't fix you, you're not doing it right. I'm not talkin' lighter fluid, bonfires, or barbeques. This is campfire 101, meant only to heat your food, your body, and your soul.

Step 1: Find twigs in the area. You'll see here I've chosen to raise them on a platform of an old half-burnt log. The ground was really damp, and sometimes you'll need a little platform like this to get things started.

Step 2: Actually what you really need is some newspaper or the local pennysaver to start the fire. Hierarchy of wood product to burn should be paper-twigs-logs-logs with sappy bark.
Step 3: I like to pile my logs like a pyramid or teepee. Trick here is to create an air funnel. See those flames? I'm not blowing air on it. There's no gale wind. It's the physics of a vacuum. Plain and simple. Those logs will very quickly turn into "coals" and then you can roast the really sappy barky pieces of wood. Mmm...Once you got that fired up you can basically cook anything. I like cans of soup and roasted veggies.

Step 4: Most important in your fire-building is a "poker." If the kindling is "excelcior," the poker is Excalibur. Find something pretty raw, so it don't burn up or snap off when you're moving coals and logs.

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