How to start a fire – The Ploughing 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 supply of water 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 Ploughing Method

This form of starting a fire is quite similar to the hand drill method in the equipment used and required for it, the practicality of this technique, and the steps you go through. Collect items around you that are easily flammable, i.e. dried bark, leaves, and grass. Try to find thin strips and fibres of the things above. If this is not possible, it may work by breaking down what you find into smaller and thinner strips.

Begin with preparing a fireboard, typically oakwood, by cutting a track-like grove into the centre of the board. Ensure it is quite long and sturdy so that you can keep the board in place while creating the fire and sturdy enough to take the pressure. Also, place your prepared tinder nest at the end of the fireboard to catch the embers as you’re ploughing the wood. Using the spindle that is recommended to be about 2 feet long, rub the tip of the spindle up and down the groove created on the fireboard applying continuous pressure and speed. You will begin to see the glowing ember forming and once enough has been caught in the tinder nest, you can begin to blow on the nest gently and carefully, enabling it to catch fire. Once a small flame has formed, you can now transfer this to your pile of firewood and continue to blow/fan to prevent the fire from decreasing.

Article by Lovey Naomi