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Thread: What is the best fire starting method for Alaska (with no man made materials)

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    Member LIVIN907's Avatar
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    Default What is the best fire starting method for Alaska (with no man made materials)

    Only using what one would find in nature what are some ways or materials here that would start a fire. This is to only assume one lost every thing or is ill prepared.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    I imagine without matches or lighter, you gotta go flint and iron or firebow, basically....I've used all kinds of stuff for tinder, depends on where you are. Up on top of a mountain, there ain't gonna be much to burn...inner bark of various trees is good, some mosses...small, dry dead spruce branches with needles burn like crazy....one thing's for sure; when it's cold and wet out, anyone who can start a fire and keep it going is mucho appreciated!



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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    dried birch bark or the dead lower branches of a spruce tree.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Default What is the best fire starting method for Alaska (with no man made materials)

    Quote Originally Posted by LIVIN907 View Post
    Only using what one would find in nature what are some ways or materials here that would start a fire. This is to only assume one lost every thing or is ill prepared.
    Gotta admit that I would be hard pressed to start a fire using only naturally occurring materials found in interior Alaska. Given ample time and non-life threatening summer-time conditions, I might be able to pull it off but I think it would be an impressive feat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Gotta admit that I would be hard pressed to start a fire using only naturally occurring materials found in interior Alaska. Given ample time and non-life threatening summer-time conditions, I might be able to pull it off but I think it would be an impressive feat.
    I agree with you on that one... On the other hand I Never go afield without at least a dozen lighters in various pockets, a flint and some starter material. I know my limitations and choose not to have Mother Nature exploit them...

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Well if it's during lightening season, you may get nice & easy fire, thanks to Mother Nature herself.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I keep some magnesium and flint in my pack at all times. And I agree, birch bark works great for tinder....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member hogfamily's Avatar
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    Default How to start a fire with a bow and drill…….....
















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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    dried birch bark or the dead lower branches of a spruce tree.
    and to add to this ..

    the balls of sap at the bottome of the black spruce will go like gasoline when shaved into a small pile.. the birchbark is awsome.. down to about -35...

    in the wet fall and spring.. the green needlesl off the black spruce also have a large amount of burn ablitly to them also and are used to get a fast heat into the fire and dry your larger wood. ..

    so dont over look the pitch, at the bottom or those balls of moss and branches that look like nest in the black spruce.. often as not on the same tree..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I agree with what Vince has said. Those small bundles of branches in the spruce trees are great little fire starters. Dry bundles of small twigs.
    Personally I wear glasses and that is one of my backup fire starting ideas. I guess I need to practice it though.
    I think with any method a little practice goes a long ways. Maybe I need to construct a bow drill and practice it too.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Maybe I need to construct a bow drill and practice it too.
    I forced myself to go out next to the house one day and try and start a fire with some magnesium and some flint. It took me quite awhile before I got an actual flame, and I darned near scraped off all my flint in the process. What I learned was even though the mag will do the trick when it takes off, don't skimp on it when you scratch off your pile, because it's not real easy to hit a small spot with a spark.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Using only natural materials to start a fire means friction method of some kind. That's not easy. You need to choose your materials carefully.

    After messing with this, and taking a LTR class, I will always have a Swedish fire steel, a Bic, cotton balls, Chapstick, on me.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I tell ya, after watching Cody on "Duel Survival", the MASTER at building friction fires, bomb out a few times, I doubt I'd have a leg to stand on trying it in wet Alaska. I remember him building a beautiful bow and drill and still not being able to start a fire when it hadn't even been raining, but was just real damp. He got real close but lost his ember.....

    That's why even though I will always bring a few bics and/or waterproof matches, that mag stick and flint will always be in my pack.......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Steve_O's Avatar
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    Google "Alaskan bushcrafters" and look at some of his videos. He is a guy here in the interior that is skilled in wilderness survival and has recorded several types of fire building using primative skills. He is not always successfull but he can show you several items found abundantly here in the interior. For instance there is a fungus that grows on the aspen trees that looks like a big black wart but if you chop off a section of it and use a heat source such as magnification or spark it acts like a punk and will keep burning to start other materials.
    Steve

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    I've started a fire using the bow & drill method-when I was a Boy Scout mumblemumble years ago. What our Scout Master had us do was operate in two-Scout teams, one holding the drill and the other sawing the bow and switching off when we got tired. It took a long time and I don't think I'd have been able to start a fire that way by myself, but it's doable.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Pitch is awesome, so are cotton balls infused with Vaseline. As far as spark, I Always have at least a few lighters on me. As a smoker, I wouldn't go out of the house- ever- without at least 2.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .338-06 View Post
    I've started a fire using the bow & drill method-when I was a Boy Scout mumblemumble years ago. What our Scout Master had us do was operate in two-Scout teams, one holding the drill and the other sawing the bow and switching off when we got tired. It took a long time and I don't think I'd have been able to start a fire that way by myself, but it's doable.
    Looks like waaaaaaaaaay too much work!!! I'd probably do just as well standing with a fist full of tinder and wait for a bolt of lightening!!!!!!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Oil is natural. So is phosphorus and paper. Dump some oil on some wood and toss a match on it. All "natural" fire.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Context can make all the difference sometimes...

    I may not recall this correctly, maybe one of you guys know, but as I remember, one past president, maybe Eisenhower, actually I think it was Jimmy Doolittle, the pilot, anyway worked on a survey team of some kind in Alaska. He and a partner, while working their way south toward Valdez I think, encountered a frozen guy - who appeared to have frozen, maybe after falling into a creek, but in the act of trying to start a fire. Probably the most frequent modern day situation where this kind of threat emerges is falling through the ice - snowmachiners or ice fishing, whatever.

    In some older posts on this topic, one member (Snyd in http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...o-build-a-fire) half jokingly suggested using flares, but flares and gasoline would probably be my first choice if I had choices in a dire situation. There's a 1-10-1 rule in cold water immersion, the jist of which is that protecting against cold shock (gasping, inhaling water, hyperventilation) occupies your first minute, then over the next ten minutes, you'll have progressive incapacitation. In those 10 minutes, you have to effect self-rescue. Some cold days in Alaska, I suspect it's somewhat less than ten minutes and having a fail-safe strategy for bailing yourself out would be imperative.

    Here are some old links to good discussions, many include others' preference for road flares to get things going quick. Some include good naturally-occurring items, often available locally.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d-Firestarters
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...r-survival-kit
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ls-Science-Lab
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...g-thru-the-ice
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-safety-1-10-1

    Good thread.

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Looks like waaaaaaaaaay too much work!!! I'd probably do just as well standing with a fist full of tinder and wait for a bolt of lightening!!!!!!
    This is why I haven't tried it since I was a Scout!

    Also learned to spark light tinder with steel wool and a D cell battery and again haven't tried it since.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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