Instant Improver

How to ignite a fire in the wild

A misjudgment of the map followed by the cover of nightfall and suddenly the great outdoors doesn’t look so great, especially if your only way of warmth lies in your ability to build a fire from practically nothing. Kenn Griffiths, author of The Essential Survival Manual, takes you through the art of creating an impromptu flame.

1. “Find two sticks, one hardwood and one softwood. Ensure that both are as dead and dry as possible. The softwood needs to be about 1ft long, 1in thick and at least 2in across. The hardwood should be 1in round so it’s easy enough for you to grip. It should also be shaped to a point.”

2. “Cut a groove in the centre and down the length of the softwood, then turn it over and repeat on the other side. If you don’t have a knife handy, find a rough stone, preferably a sandstone, and rub it up and down the softwood with firm pressure.”

3. “Dig a small trench to keep the softwood in place. Kneel down with the softwood directly in front of your knees. Hold the hardwood with both hands then quickly and forcibly rub it up and down the groove so that it starts to create heat and causes a hot ember in the form of a hole in the centre.”

4. “Apply the ember from the soft wood to a tinder — it can be paper-thin strips of bark or any other dry, flammable material — and then blow on it to add extra oxygen. When the flame starts, push the tinder into the base of the campfire, aiming for the smaller, more easily ignitable sticks.”

Picture: Rex Features