Pearls of wisdom

“A boy on joining wants to begin Scouting right away.”
Light Your Fire

Finally, we're gonna light the fire! I bet you thought I'd never let you get this far with all the site preparation, fuel gathering, and laying the fire. But, its now time to light 'er up!

There are lots of fun, interesting, and challenging ways to light your fire. Most of them have to do with primitive methods or survival needs and are covered on the fire starters page, but for now I want to give you some advice on getting your fire started easily. Later, you can get tricky about it.

Remember that you need Fuel, Air, and Heat to have a fire. A very important tip to keep in mind is that Heat Rises. So, when lighting a fire, make sure you light under the fuel so the fire burns up into the fuel. I've lost count of how many times I've seen the tops of kindling burn out because the tinder was on top and then the fire needs to be laid all over again.

OK, my advice to you on lighting your campfire:

  • Light Under the tinder. Make sure kindling is above the tinder so the heat rises and burns.
  • Light Upwind - the wind will blow the fire into the fuel. You should have checked the general wind direction before laying your fire.
  • Position yourself between the prevailing wind and your fire lay. Too much wind will extinguish your match or tinder so you act as a windbreak.
  • Hold your match in place, don't toss it on the tinder or you'll use up a lot of matches.


Match Lighting:

Lighting a match is a simple thing, but even such a simple task can be done correctly or clumsily:

  • Remove one match from the box or book and close the box so the rest are not spilled or accidentally lit.
  • Many people hold a match near the butt and strike away from their body. See what happens? A broken match doesn't light much.

Hold the match in your hand like this:

  • Strike the match toward you, using your middle finger for pressure close to the match head.

The lit match winds up in this position when lit:

  • Your hand is a windbreak to keep the match safe.
  • The match is at a 60 degree angle so the flame burns up the match.
  • Let your match get going before trying to start the fire.
  • Using a match that is just flaring at the tip will fail.
  • Extend the burning match into the tinder and you're on your way.
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