Surviving in Tough Times: How to Build a Fire

Knowing how to build a fire is an essential skill in tough times.

| January 2013

Camp Fire

Knowing how to build a fire would be essential to survival if society falls apart as some predict.

Photo By Fotolia/Christian Jung

Would you be prepared to survive in the event of a complete breakdown of modern civilization? In Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age (Paladin Press, 2007), author Jim Ballou introduces you to the essential skills and mind-set you will need to survive a complete, long-term shift in the way the world operates. Learn how to build a fire, recycle and salvage everything, develop survival bartering skills, prepare and store caches and much more. The excerpt below comes from chapter 5, “Making Fire.”  

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age.  

Let us now shift our attention to the subject of fire, as I believe this will always be of great importance to our lives in one way or another. In primitive times, fire was used for keeping warm, cooking food, signaling, providing light, hardening clay and wooden tools, and for smoking meat and hides to help preserve them, among other things. In a future Dark Age, I expect that fire might be useful for keeping warm, cooking food, boiling water to purify it, sterilizing surgical instruments, firing clay, heating, tempering, and melting metals, and for providing light wherever electricity might be unreliable or in short supply. I am convinced that the ability to create and control fire will give knowledgeable survivors a significant advantage in the future, just as it has in the past.

As important as fire obviously is to the quality of human existence, it is also potentially very dangerous to the environment and a real threat to the survival of those who find themselves in the path of a raging wildfire.

Various systems for creating fire include the friction bow-drill, several different sparking devices, and a cigarette lighter.

Attentive supervision and proper safety measures therefore will be every bit as important as the ability to create and effectively use fire. The most common hazards associated with fire are the blaze spreading beyond the hearth or fire pit due to popping embers or wind-blown ashes; soot and smoke filling the lungs; and carbon monoxide poisoning and asphyxiation in confined spaces where the fire consumes all the oxygen.

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