Fire 101: Lighting and Maintenance

Jessie Krebs

Lesson time 21:03 min

Jessie demonstrates starting techniques, lay designs, and steps to maintain your fire.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Protect Your Fire With a Platform • Make a Brace • Know Your Ignition Sources • Light Your Fire • Fire Lays • Help the Environment, Put Out Your Fire


[MUSIC PLAYING] - This is going to be my platform. Just a piece of bark I found. It's dry. And that can be here to help balance everything I'm putting on. Again, I don't want my Tinder down in this. It's not going to burn, right? That's part of why we have it as our fire circle. So I want to make sure I've got this down first. And a platform can have many different shapes. It can be this. Let's say I've got 20 feet of snow. Then it might be a bunch of green branches that I've broken off. They're green, so they don't tend to burn through as easily. They snap easier in cold weather. So I can snap those, break them up, and make several across this way and several across this way so I've got this little platform on top of the snow. And I literally build my fire on top of that. Or let's say it's really rainy conditions. I can have a platform that I've made up in the trees, because everywhere is ankle deep, maybe knee deep water underneath me. So I'm going to build a platform up high. Scoop out a bunch of mud, put it up on top of that platform, even put layers of vegetation in between mud to make this big mud slab on top of the wood platform I've got up in the tree. And now I'm going to build my fire on top of that, right? So platforms can have many different appearances and can have many different uses. But their main purpose is to keep the fire protected while you initially start it and to keep it from sinking down or getting wet. [MUSIC PLAYING] So here I've got a platform. Let's look at a couple of options for those braces. One would be a larger just one thick piece of wood. So often, if I'm taking those small trees and snapping them, the first piece down by the roots, that's the one that I'll use is just put one of those straight across. So something that's kind of like this. This one's actually been sawn and has some pitch wood in it, so it would burn really well after it lit. But there's some red in this, right, so that's got pitch wood as well. But this could make a pretty decent brace, especially if I turn it away so I've got this nice smooth side. So I can simply set that down on my platform, right? Say OK, that's going to be about this high. Awesome. And now I'll be able to lay things across it. So again, this concept is think of this. If I had some tinders here, you know, only about a third of what I've got there, and I break it down, I get it all prepped up really well-- ooh, look at that nice dry powder coming off-- and I fluff it all up, get lots of oxygen in the system, and what if I didn't have that brace there? And I set this nice ball of fluff and I get this lit, and I'm like, oh goody, I got fire, and I do something like this and I just drop it on. Or I take a bunch of this. Oops, I just snuffed my fire, right? So the brace, the whole concept is to stop that from happening. So instead of putting this directly on my wonderful flaming tinder that's going to have a flam...

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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