Using Fire in a Survival Situation on ATAC TV

ATAC TV Survival Channel and Fire Starting Programs

Fire is a nice thing to have, especially when you are freezing, starving or need to signal for rescue. Without it, life can get miserable very fast. ATAC TV Survival Staff recommend carrying a preparedness kit with you anytime and anywhere. This includes in your car, at home and especially when roaming outdoors in the wilderness. You never know when an emergency might require one or more of the "Ten Essentials" from your gear bag, and it might save your life!

Lets look at the Fire basics from prior blogs below:

"Why would you need the ability to start a fire? There are many reasons for fire discussed on ATAC TV Survival Channel that you would need backpacking, hunting, hiking and the occasional emergency events. Yes, fire is a lifesaver. Fire can be used to cook food, dry wet clothing, and add warmth for your body and even a signal to aid in rescue. There are too many uses of fire to list, but know that you need it as much as you would need water and air.

There are three (3) essential components of a fire and you will not have fire with out all three key elements. They are:

Fuel is cauterized by anything that can burn. This could mean wood, paper, grass or even clothing. There are many things that will burn if the mixtures of the three key components are present in the right proportions.

Air: This seems simple enough; you need oxygen, which is a component of the air we breathe. The amount of oxygen needed is in direct relationship to the size and texture of the fuel you will be using to build a fire. Small tinder or twigs with the ends frayed out (shredded) to smaller fluffy particles allow the air to surround the fuel to provide the critical oxygen to more surface area of that fuel. This makes the tinder much easier to light once you start applying heat to the combination of components to generate combustion.

Heat: A heat source is required for the air and fuel mix to generate the chemical reaction that creates fire through combustion called fire tetrahedron. This heat can come from many different sources, some as simple as pulling out your lighter and igniting some small tinder or kindling. These sources are spark, friction, pressure, sun and electricity. Each has its own way of generating the heat required to ignite the fuel/air mix. You should always carry at least two types of fire starting items, in case one does not work. Using a Magnesium/Striker fire starter kits can create fire even in the rain and wet conditions.

Once you have all three components, you need to prepare for building the fire by collecting the proper types of fuel. Assuming you are in the back woods, you will need tinder, kindling and fuel wood or the main ingredient to sustain the fire once it is burning. The common mistakes when building a fire seem to come from the balance of the three required components. Fuel, air and heat must work in unison to create and sustain the fire. The most common issue people have trouble with is the fire is not getting enough air. The tinder has to be small or fluffy to start easily. The smaller pieces have more air around them and are easy to light, as opposed to a log that has air only at the surface when heat is applied."


So, we know how and why fire is built and maintained, let's look at the different types of fire starters that you should include in your gear bag. ATAC TV SURVIVAL Staff suggests you carry two or more types of fire starting tools. Murphy's Law is always in effect, so for safeties sake, making sure to carry alternate ways to generate and maintain fire. Here are some of the methods and tools available for consideration to carry with you.

"There are quite a few different methods of starting a fire. A Fire requires fuel, air and heat to produce combustion. ATAC TV Survival can guide you through all the aspects of your survival plan to include fire-starting tools. Today, we are going to break down the different types or methods of applying heat to start the fire. Some are very simple and others take skill to accomplish the desired result.

Here are the different categories of tools to start fires:
Matches: A standard book of matches would be a good addition to your fire kit, but these are easily damaged by some moisture and unusable. Take some anyway as it is a cheap way to light a fire when not in adverse conditions. There are different specialty matches available and is much better at getting a fire going in less than ideal conditions.

Waterproof Matches: The standard waterproof matches are dipped so the tip of the match will not be damaged by moisture. The only problem with that is the wooden stick of the match will absorb water and destroy the match from the bottom end. Read complete article on AtacTv.com Survival Channel Blog.

Windproof Matches: Most windproof matches are also waterproofed too. The biggest advantage of the wind matches is the extra large amount of tip material running about half way down the stick of the match. Once you strike the match, it will stay burning much longer than standard matches and allow you more time to ignite your tinder before it can be blown out by the wind. Read more on AtacTv.com Survival Channel Blog.

Lighters: What could be easier, whip out a butane lighter and start your fire? This is true in normal circumstances, but there are some down sides from depending on them. Always carry an alternate method of creating fire to supplement the lighters. Carry two of the butane lighters in case one gets wet. It will take quite awhile to dry out before it will become usable again, if at all. If you damage the body of the lighter and the fuel leaks out, the striker assembly might be useful but just barely. You may run out of fuel, depending on how long a period of time you must depend on it, and in cold temperatures the liquid fuel may not vaporize as well and become very difficult to light.

Sparks: One way to get very hot and intense, but short-lived heat is by creating sparks. Sparks are tiny bits of super heated metal that are scrapped off the host chunk of metal. Flint and steel have been the most widely known method of producing sparks for fire, early guns and lighters. When you strike flint against steel it produces white light and high temperature as small pieces of metal are scraped off but for only a brief instant. The quality of rock and metal makes a big difference in the efficiency of the spark produced. Another special item is called a "char cloth". This can be made easily out of 100% cotton that has been heated to high temperatures without any oxygen and turns it into charcoal. What is left is black cloth that easily catches sparks to aid in the process of fire starting. We will discuss the actual process to accomplish setting the tinder on fire and other steps of fire starting on ATAC TV.

Magnesium and Ferrocerium as spark generators work very well. This product includes the spark as well as its own tinder. All you do is scrape shavings from the soft magnesium bar into a small pile about the size quarter. Flip the block over and expose the edge with the sparking rod and scrape it with your knife. The sparks will ignite the magnesium shavings... Complete article on AtacTv.com Survival Channel Blog.


Friction: Making fire by friction takes some time as instead of a spark or flame to ignite the tinder, it is caused by generating enough friction to heat the tinder to at least 800 degrees Fahrenheit for initial combustion to take place. This required extremely dry wood and some patience. Wood with any moisture in it or even sap or resin from the wood will hinder your efforts as the wood will become polished and not generate the heat required to ignite the fire. Examples of friction type fire starting are the Fire Plow, Fire Saw, Hand Drill and a Bow drill. Each of these sets up the friction of wood rubbing against other with wood chips becoming the tinder.

Pressure: The fire piston is a unique way to create fire. It is based on the design of a plunger being quickly pushed into an airtight tube compressing the air, which raises the temperature, and igniting some tinder attached to the tip of the plunger. This uses nothing but compressed air to light the fire. This method might not the best choice for the survival bag.

Electricity: Batteries are the source for a ready-made fire starting kit. Add in some steel wool in a very fine grade, touch the contacts and the steel wool will glow and begin to flame. It does not last long, but works great. Have your tinder, kindling and wood ready to built a fire.

Sunlight: A magnifying glass will work wonders producing a focused point using the suns rays to ignite tinder. We all played with these as kids, but they work well as long as the sun is out. You will be in a world of hurt if you need a fire in the middle of the night and all you have is a magnifying glass. Basically, hold the glass over the tinder with the full glass exposed to the sun. Move the glass in and out until you get the smallest dot of focused light. Move the beam of light into the tinder and it will set it afire. Here are a few more ways sunlight can be used, but would have to be a last ditch effort. Water in plastic bags can be shaped into a ball with the sun refracting through will also produce a focused point of light.... Read complete article on AtacTv.com Survival Channel Blog.

All of these methods work to produce heat capable of igniting tinder and starting a fire. It is advised that you spend some time playing with the different components for the experience of actually doing it before you really need it. ATAC TV can help by reviewing the instructional programs covering this subject and much more in survival related gear and techniques. The examples of fire starting devices are a suggestion, but take the time and gather the tools you might need to survive. The ATAC Staff also recommends that a good strong knife and possibly a firearm should be included when the situation dictates. Be prepared and ready for the unexpected, and live to tell about it. Be safe!

Read complete article on AtacTv.com Survival Channel Blog.
ATAC TV Staff