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A tepee of sticks for starting a fire

Build a fire where heat will radiate into the shelter. Your sleeping area should be located between the shelter wall and the fire.

  • If there is snow on the ground, build a fire on a platform of green logs or rocks. If the terrain is dry, clear a patch of bare dirt to avoid starting a grass or forest fire.
  • Gather everything you need before starting a fire. Pile fuel, ranging from small twigs to fuel logs, next to the fire site. Collect more fuel than you think you can use; you may need more than you estimate.
  • Pile fine twigs, grass, or bark shavings loosely as a base. If you can't find dry kindling, remove bark from trees. Use your knife to shave dry wood from the inside of the bark.
  • Find green or damp leaves to make the fire smoke a great deal during the day. Don't smother the fire, but make it smoke. At night, skip the smudge (smoke) but build the fire up brightly and keep it going. A large fire will keep you warmer and possibly signal rescuers.