Starting the evening fire with just one match is the most all out challenge given to a group of campers. It beats catching the biggest fish or carrying the heaviest load. The bets are on for getting the fire going and the stakes get higher the more foul the weather. It’s a gamble but generally the rules are that if you are able to get a fire going, with just one match, during a persistent all-day rain, then you win another group member’s dessert. Here’s how to win.
Locate a downed tree and sawed off the end not touching the ground (wood touching the ground will quickly rot) with one of those collapsible camp saws into pieces no greater then the length and thickness of my arm.
Use thin stripes of birch bark, dry pine needles, a glob of pitch squeezed from balsam blisters or a piece of dried lichen as a fire starter; or use a homemade fire starter (see below) and place it at base of the fire ring.
Place the pencil-size twigs at a criss-cross pattern over the fire starter material.
Place the larger pieces on top but make sure there’s plenty of space for the fire to breath (too much smoke means you’re smothering the flames)
Place a few more pencil-sized twigs on top to lock everything in place.
Ignite the fire starter material with a match stored in a waterproof container (to make sure the match is dry place a cotton ball on top of the matches in the container and briskly run the match through your hair before igniting it to draw out any moisture).
Construct a second pile of wood around and even on top of the fire to constantly dry out your fuel source.