How to start a fire – The Hand Drill Method

There are various methods of starting a fire when you are outdoors, ranging from those that require almost no equipment to the others that will have much higher levels of preparation.

Some safety precautions to consider before beginning any fire:

·         Ensure the area is clear of litter, dead leaves, brush, etc.

·         Always supervise the fire to ensure that it does not either die down (forcing you to have to start it again) or, more importantly, it grows too large and possibly spreads; this goes in turn with never leaving the fire unattended.

·         Try to build your fire in a campfire ring, especially if it is a national park, it may be illegal in public forests, and there may be times of dry spells when campfire will not be allowed for that specific area/park.

·         If possible, keep a water supply near you or start your fire close enough for you to quickly access water in any case of needing to put the fire out.

·         Collect firewood and other items to be used, in surplus amounts, so that you can store them away from the fire for later use.

·         Try avoiding the use of flammables such as lighter fluid, gasoline, etc. This is for safety reasons and could leave a strange taste in food, it that is the purpose of the fire.

The Hand Drill Method

Beginning with the most primitive method and the most difficult to do, this is the useful method for when you have no equipment and must utilise nature to achieve this. You must build a tinder nest, which will allow you to start up a flame. This can be done by using anything that can combust easily, e.g., dry bark, grass, and leaves.

Ensure you have a fireboard, and with it, you create a small V-shaped notch (roughly the size of your spindle); you can make several on the same board if the space on the board allows for it, and this prepares you for creating further fires while you’re outdoors. Make a small depression adjacent to it, allowing the ember to fall. Now, take the collected dry bark, place it underneath the finished fireboard; this will be used to catch the falling ember.

For this to work efficiently, use a spindle that is at least 2 feet long. Begin to quickly spin the spindle in the notch, using and maintaining slight pressure while rolling it in between your palms. Keep this going continuously until the ember forms on the fireboard. To visibly recognise the ember, it looks like glowing, red, hot dust speckles, which is highly essential for starting up the fire itself. Tapping the fireboard, drop the glowing ember onto your piece of bark and place it in the tinder nest.

To begin the fire, which is a careful process, blow gently on the nest along with the bark that was previously transferred. You should gradually start to see flames slowly blazing and continue the gentle blowing until you have the desired level of fire and place it in the collected woodpile.

Article by Lovey Naomi