Fire 101: Gathering Fuel

Jessie Krebs

Lesson time 19:38 min

Learn how to gather and prepare the essential elements of a successful fire.

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Topics include: Select Your Fire Site • Fire Triangle: Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel • Gather Your Tinder • Stages of a Fire: Treat Your Fire Like an Infant • Shavings and Feather Sticks


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Now, we often hear a lot about firecrackers when we're working with survival needs, and it is an incredible tool. It's awesome-- so many things we can use a fire for, right-- signaling, keeping warm, light, morale. And, at the same time, it's a skill. So right now we can see we got kind of a drippy, rainy day. Right? And if I'm going to do this fire-- if I'm going to have success at it, one of the key elements is to do a shelter first. Because if my clothing is compromised right now and I'm trying to start a fire, and I'm freezing, my dexterity is gone. I'm-- my success level is likely to be nil. So we need to make sure that we're thinking about a few things before we actually get to that fire craft. So because I've decided to put my fire here, I'm going to put a shelter first because it's been kind of nasty out. And it's the same concept is what we did before. Right? So if we look up at this, it's the same thing. I've got a main line where I started from one tree, went to another. That's my center line. And then I just hide out all the sidelines. All the other little grommets on the sides there, I just tied out to those and tied them onto trees. And I created the same concept. And, of course, we're keeping it one more open so you can see a little bit of what's going on. But, keep in mind, I can easily lower these edges and bring this whole shelter in a little tighter. Just make sure you also have some airflow. You don't want to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. That's not cool, either. [MUSIC PLAYING] So part of where we place our fire is going to be based on what am I going to use it for. So, in this particular situation, I'm thinking maybe I'm going to put my shelter right back there. Sweet. So if I have a shelter and then I have my fire nearby, great. And am I going to cook over this fire? Because, if I am, I don't want it right next to my shelter. I'm calling in the animals. Right? Or maybe I want to have it more for a signal fire. That's really what is most important. And so maybe I want this in a big open area, a big meadow, someplace up high. So where I locate it is going to be important not only for the use, but also for safety. Right? If I'm here-- like, I've got lots of grasses and leaves around. I want to make sure that I can open this up and make a fire circle, so that I have at least three feet on all sides of that fire circle that are down to bare mineral soil. Otherwise, if the fire has fuel, that's the direction it's going to go. Right? So we want to make sure there's no fuel around it that it can jump into and take off with. So make sure safety is a part of that element in that choice of selection, as well. [MUSIC PLAYING] Once I've got my site selected, I know what I'm going to use it for, now I need to build a fire. And a key element in that is realizing that there are three things a fire needs to exist. So oxygen, definitely. It's like a living org...

About the Instructor

As a former Air Force SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) specialist, wilderness survival expert Jessie Krebs spent 30 years preparing people for the unexpected. Now she’s teaching you the mindset and skills to safely explore the outdoors. Learn essential survival techniques—from signaling for help to reading a map, finding water, making shelter, and more—and embark on your next adventure with confidence.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jessie Krebs

Wilderness survival expert and former Air Force SERE specialist Jessie Krebs teaches you the skills to explore nature safely and confidently.

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