It’s an ironic twist of life that the situations where you most need a fire for heat and light are often the situations in which it’s hardest to start one. When the weather is wet, windy, cold, icy, or just downright miserable, fire doesn’t like to cooperate. But in these situations, staying warm and getting some hot food or liquid in your body is often a matter of survival. Here are a few tips for getting your fire going in bad weather.
The driest part of available kindling with be at the heart of logs, not the smaller dead twigs and branches that you’ll be tempted to grab. Chop, saw, or otherwise work your way into the heart, and strip out these drier wood sections for fire starter. If you can find a bundle of splints to fill up one large armful, then you can most likely get a hot fire established. When you are gathering material in bad weather, it’s important to get enough the first go around. Gather more than you think you’ll need, because it’s likely that you’ll end up with quite a lot that can’t be used.
Choose a spot where you can get a little bit of shelter from the weather. Block the wind with trees or a hill, or build a small wind block in the shape of a C using wet logs, a tarp, or any other supplies you have on hand. You need a place for smoke to escape if you plan to build your shelter directly over the fire. Starting a fire directly beneath a large evergreen tree is a good option, but be sure to clear away any low-hanging branches to avoid a wildfire. You also need to build your fire pit slightly raised to keep it away from ground water.
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