Lighting a Fire with Silver Birch - The Natural Fire Starter
Every time I spot a Silver Birch I always try to collect any bark
that’s peeling off naturally. The bark is like paper and I would say
the best natural tinder to be found in England. Lighting a fire with
Silver Birch is easy and rewarding.
Guide to Lighting a fire with Silver Birch Bark
Simply find a tree where some bark has peeled off and collect a fair
bit. Make sure you are not cutting into the tree or damaging it in any
way. Once you have collected enough you can place the bark in your
pocket where your body heat will slowly dry it out even more.
Fire Place Preparation
To prepare the fire place simply sweep away any leaves until you reach
bare earth. Arrange a few small branches to make a platform on the
ground. This keeps the cold damp ground away from your dry tinder.
Collect kindling and fuel wood for the fire you are about to make.
Lighting a fire with silver birch is easy but first start by crunching
up the silver birch bark up in your hands. This helps release fine
particles that will ignite with a spark. Stick the birch bark on top of
the small branches and have some tiny kindling sticks ready to add when
they are needed. I aim to have three fists full of dry twigs ready at
least (that are around 4mm diameter) and a few larger bits of dry wood
(around 1.5cm thick) to add once the fire is properly going. Splitting
wood into matches is easy to do with a good knife, and the inside of
wood is normally dry.
Lighting the bark
Scrape some sparks off your firesteel and sooner or later one will fall
in the right place on the bark. Once it’s burning strong put the
kindling on top, and once that’s burning add your larger bits. Take your
time and prepare all the steps properly. Be careful not to starve your
fire of oxygen by dumping everything on it at once. A good rule is not
to add any more twigs or branches until the flames are coming through
your existing pile on the fire. Once you have boiled your water, warmed
yourself or cooked your meal you must clean up the area. Try to burn
down all the wood to ash which is easy to scatter. A hydration pack
normally contains enough water to thoroughly soak the warm ashes. Mix it
up by hand to make sure it’s not still hot and cover again with the
leaves you moved out of the way earlier. Leave no trace.