Surviving in the Cold: Starting a Fire in Wet Conditions
Getting a fire started in the rain or up in the mountains after a recent snowfall can be next to impossible. Better have a plan if you want to survive in the cold next to a warm fire.
What’s the best tinder material when making a fire is essential?
The best answer is dry, fibrous material which catches a spark even in wet conditions. Fire starting woes are compounded when the dry stuff isn’t available. Every bushcraft, camping, hiking, or emergency kit should include redundant layers for making fire.
The usual suspects for combustion tools include:
- Fero rods (ferrocerium), AKA firesteels
- Flint and steel
- Magnesium bars
- Fire pistons
- Plain ol’ matches or storm matches
A flic from your Bic doesn’t guarantee fire. It may produce a flame (depending on conditions) but you’ll need dry tinder in your fire lay to get warm. Preparing a fire kit ahead of time will help you avoid a freezing night or worse.
It is extremely difficult to see people on the ground from the air. Even some wreckage is hard to see, depending on the bush or other surroundings. When Search and Rescue are looking for someone, if they dont see them in one area, they move on. So it would be a great shame if you heard them coming, and they fly over and dont see you. That is why signaling is such a priority, even before organic food, water and shelter.
For fire survival, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.