Traditional Fire-Making




Search  Inquiry Net

Home ] Up ] Next ]

Traditional Fire-Making
Starting Fires
Cooking Fires
Fires in the Ground
Baking Fires
Camp Fires
Fire Construction
Fire by Friction

Scout Books

Site Contents

Fires and Fire-Making

"A woodsman is known by his fires." 

In order to take care of ourselves in the open we must understand the principles of fire building and be able to apply them to the materials at hand. No one can become a good outdoor cook unless he is a good fire builder, for as the backwoodsmen tell us : 

"The most of cookin's fire buildin'."

It is not expected that anyone will use all the fires described in this chapter. Study those best suited to your environment, and teach them as they are needed. The person who takes an occasional picnic hike will need only the simplest cooking fires. The leader who gets beyond the "hot dog" or "bacon bat" stage will use many cooking fires. The overnight hiker and camp-craft leader must be familiar with many types.

Experimental Method of Instruction: Some leaders use the individual experimental method for the first lesson, permitting each person to gather whatever materials he pleases and then lay a fire in whatever way he thinks best, thus learning by mistakes that the leader points out later. Others claim that this method wastes wood, time, and patience, and eventually produces poorly cooked food.

Group Demonstrational Method: Some prefer to organize the party into small groups and permit each group to lay a fire after an experienced person has demonstrated some desirable form of fire building. The instructor should, by the question or developmental method, point out the importance of the following :

1. Selection of proper tinder, or the making of a fuzz-stick for starting the fire.

2. Importance of draft, and necessity for observing the direction of the wind.

3. Reasons for making all necessary preparations, including wood supply, food, and the hanging of the pot, before lighting the fire.

4. Varieties of wood to produce the best flame for boiling; woods for making coals for broiling.

5. How to shelter a match and light a fire in a high wind.

6. Precautions to be taken in clearing the spot before laying the fire.

7. Most Important: be absolutely sure always to put the fire out.

The above points will be better retained if they are developed one at a time, while the demonstration is being given step by step. For example, after demonstrating either a fuzz-stick or a substitute for it, let each group gather material and make one. While they are doing this, the instructor should lay a sample fire and hang a pot. He may then assemble the groups again to discuss the type of fire and the pot-hanger. Then a spirit of competition may be introduced by announcing, "When your fire is ready to light, call me. The first fire that passes inspection wins. Go!"

Fire-Building as Handicraft: In ordinary practice fire-building is taught only in connection with cooking. However, at camp it is taught as handicraft, or knife and ax work. Naturally it is popular because any boy or girl, with the simplest form of visual instruction (photographs), can lay many types of fires. Many camp and club leaders teach fire-building by simply dividing the class into small groups and passing out photographs containing all necessary instruction on the back of the picture. When this is done, the thought-producing questions which follow each fire should be used for group discussion, otherwise the work will result in mere imitative handicraft.

Traditional Fire-Making


Part I: Starting Fires


Part II: General Cooking Fires


Part III: Fires in the Ground


Part IV: Baking Fires 


Part V: Camp Fires


Part VI: Fire Construction Work & Handicraft


Part VII: Fire by Friction







Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Traditional Fire-Making ] Starting Fires ] Cooking Fires ] Fires in the Ground ] Baking Fires ] Camp Fires ] Fire Construction ] Fire by Friction ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Activities ] Archery ] Axe, Boy Scout ] Axe, Saw, Forestry ] Axe, Saw,  Knife ] Axe Use: Beard ] Axe Use: Seton ] Axe Use: Traditional ] Axe Throwing ] Beds, Woodcraft ] Bedding Materials ] Bicycle Maintenance ] Birch-Bark Torch ] Birds ] Bird Houses ] Blocks Tackles Purchase ] Blood Red Cross ] Broom: Camp or Witch's ] Buttons ] Campcraft ] Camp Hygiene ] Camp Planning ] Campfire Programs ] Catapult ] Chainsaws ] Checklists ] Chuck Box Riddance! ] City-Craft ] Compass Bear Song ] Compass, Home-Made ] Cooking ] Cotton Kills Bear Song ] Deduction in Tracking ] Deduction & Detective ] Drum ] Dyes ] Edible Plants ] Equipment, Leader ] Equipment, Personal ] Equipment Maintenance ] Equipment, Lightweight ] Equip, Pickle Bucket Camp ] Estimation ] Field Signals ] Fire-Building ] Fire Building ] Fire Laying ] Fire Lighting ] Fire Starters ] Fire: Rubbing-Stick ] Fire Types, Wood Types ] Fire Council Ring ] Fires: Woodcraft ] First Aid ] First Class Journey ] Flint & Steel ] Flowers ] Forest ] Gesture Signals ] Ground to Air Signals ] Handicraft Stunts ] High Adventure ] Hiking ] Hike Planning ] Indian Sundial Clock ] Insect Collecting ] Insect Preserve ] Indian Well ] Knife & Hatchet ] Knots, Bends, Hitches ] Knots: Diamond Hitch ] Knots: Lashings ] Knots: Rope Work ] Knots: Seton ] Knots: Traditional ] Knots & Whipping ] Lashings ] Lashing Practice Box ] Lace or Thong ] Learn by Doing ] Leave No Trace ] Leave No Trace ] Lights ] Local Knowledge ] Log Ladders, Notched ] Log-Rolling ] Logs: Cut Notch ] Logs Split with Axe ] Loom and Grass Mats ] Lost in the Woods ] Manners ] Maps ] Map & Compass ] Maps: Without Compass ] Measurement ] Measurement Estimation ] Menu Worksheet ] Menu (Adult IOLS) ] Mosquitoes ] Mushrooms ] Night Tracking ] Observation ] Old Trails ] Paints ] Pioneering, Basic ] Pioneering Models ] Plaster Casts ] Preparations ] Proverbs ] Rake ] Rope Care ] Rope Making ] Rope Spinning ] Scout Reports ] Signal & Sign ] Sign Language ] Silent Scout Signals ] Smoke Prints ] Snakes ] Spanish Windlass ] Spoons ] Staff/Stave Making ] Stalking Skills ] Stalking & Observation ] Stars ] Stools ] Story Telling ] Stoves & Lanterns ] Summoning Help ] Sun Dial: Scientific ] Survival Kit ] Tarp Poles ] Teepee (4 Pole) ] Tent Care ] Tent Pitching ] Tom-Tom ] Tomahawk Throwing ] Tomahawk Targets ] Totem Making ] Totem Animals ] Totem Poles ] Training in Tracking ] Tracks, Ground, Weather ] Tracking & Trailing ] Trail Following ] Trail Signs & Blazes ] Trail Signs of Direction ] Trail Signs: Traditional ] Trail Signs for Help ] Trees of the NE ] Wall Hangings ] Watch Compass ] Weather Wisdom ] Wild Things ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!



Amazon Logo



Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net,  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  


Last modified: October 15, 2016.