How to Start a Fire For Dummies

Let’s face it: in a survival scenario, you may not always have access to a lighter or matches, and you’re almost certainly going to need to light a fire at some point. This guide is intended to demonstrate three simple methods that can be used to start a fire if you find yourself slightly less than prepared in a situation calling for preparedness—fire starting. All of the methods discussed will require the use of tinder, so make sure you have a little nest of dried grass and twigs or other flammable fibers at the ready before beginning.

How to Start a Fire Method 1: a magnifier

The first method involves using the power of the sun, and is therefore obviously only useful if you are trying to get a fire going during the daylight hours. However, if this is the case, a fire can be ignited quite easily with the help of a nest of tinder and one small, simple tool: a magnifying glass.

Position your tinder within a ring of rocks and have firewood ready to feed it upon ignition. Get your magnifying glass and catch the rays of the sun, pointing the beam of light and heat at the heart of your tinder pile. Then… wait. Once the tinder pile begins smoking, blow on it carefully to feed the flame, adding small sticks and blowing continuously until your fire is up and running. Add firewood piece by piece, and voila! A respectable campfire made with solar power.

How to Start a Fire Method 2: foil and batteries

How to Start a FireThe next method on how to start a fire is something MacGyver would have appreciated. It involves the use of foil (kitchen foil is great, foil from a gum wrapper will do in a pinch, as well) and batteries. The battery can be a 9 volt (that’s optimal), or you can even use batteries from a cell phone—although this may require use of multiple batteries, since the voltage on those is not very high.

Get your gloves on (for safety!) and get your tinder ready on the ground, and take a small piece of foil in hand, just large enough to reach the positive and negative ends of the battery. Touch one end of the foil to the positive end of the battery, then the other end to the negative end. As the foil begins to smoke, it will ignite quickly—so drop it into that tinder pile and start blowing on it, feeding the fire with small sticks and working up to larger pieces of firewood as it begins to build.

How to Start a Fire Method 3: flint and steel

The third and final method on how to start a fire we will explore uses the same concept as a lighter, without the lighter fuel. If you don’t have a flint on hand, I suggest you go out and get one, as they can be essential to survival once all the magnifying glasses are broken and once all the foil and batteries have run out.

Again preparing your nest of kindling before you, take your piece of flint in one hand and a piece of steel (survival knives are handy for this) in the other, striking the flint against the steel in order to create a spark. Note: this may take a little bit of practice, but don’t give up hope. Aim the sparks that fall into your pile of tinder, watching for the smoke that indicates the fire has caught. Then, as always, blow into your pile of kindling carefully, nurturing the budding blaze into a proper fire. Add sticks as the kindling burns more brightly, and you’ve got yourself a fire.

These are just a few methods in how to start a fire, and without the need of a lighter or matches.

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Do you have any useful fire starting tips? Please leave them in the comments below.

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