How to Build a Fire

Choose an open space, if possible, for your fire. Beware of having it

under tree branches, too near a tent, or in any other place that might

prove dangerous. Start your fire with the tinder nearest at hand, dry

leaves, ferns, twigs, cones, birch bark, or pine-knot slivers. As the

tinder begins to burn, add kindling-wood of larger size, always

remembering that the air must circulate under and upward through the

no fire can live without air any more than you can live

without breathing. Smother a person and he will die, smother a fire and

it will die.

Soft woods are best to use after lighting the tinder; they ignite easily

and burn quickly, such as pine, spruce, alder, birch, soft maple,

balsam-fir, and others. When the kindling is blazing put on still

heavier wood, until you have a good, steady fire. Hard wood is better

than soft when the fire is well going; it burns longer and can usually

be depended upon for a reliable fire, not sending out sparks or

sputtering, as do many of the soft woods, but burning well and giving a

fine bed of hot coals. The tree belonging exclusively to America, and

which is the best of the hardwoods, comes first on the hardwood list.

This is _hickory_. Pecan, chestnut-oak, black birch, basket-oaks, white

birch, maple, dogwood, beech, red and yellow birch, ash, and apple wood

when obtainable are excellent.