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

kindling; 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.

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