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Stosh

Fire Building

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Nope, it's homemade out of old cans.  I have a big one for plop camping #10 can and a smaller one for backpacking.  Cans and tent pegs is all it takes, even the #10 can weighs next to nothing, except it's size is too big for backpacking. 

 

I made the larger stove one summer camp about 3-4 years ago and really liked it.  They cooked on a shepherd's stove, I used my new rocket stove and it worked great.  I then made a smaller version for backpacking.  It's small, but it gets the job done nicely.

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I see good fire-building as a collection of maxims:

 

  • You need six things to a fire: ignition source, tinder kindling, fuel, oxygen and patience.
  • If a piece of wood is wet on the outside, it is dry on the inside.
  • Never use a piece of wood that doesn't break with a snap -- if it bends it won't burn.
  • Look for wood that is smaller than your wrist that you can break easily
  • Look for wood that is off the ground (i.e. branch that fell against another tree)
  • If the ground is wet, build the fire off the ground (lay some wood on the ground and put the tinder on top of the wood)
  • Leaves and needles are for making smoke, not fire

Our guys typically carry cotton balls with petroleum jelly (very helpful in rain and snow) but also know how to use wood shavings to start a fire.  We teach them to build a fire starting small and adding wood as the fire grows stronger.  Once we get a teepee fire going - starting with smaller sticks and putting larger sticks on top of it, they build a log cabin fire around it.

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String burning was one of the favorites. Everyone did it, and the fastest time, was 1 minute 42 seconds. That included a time bonus of -4 minutes caused they used a bow to start it. On the opposite end, worst patrol did it in 29 minutes and ??? seconds. They too used a bow and had some issues. We allowed 1 match as a freebee, additional matches cost time. Bonus time for non-match/lighter methods.

 

Next year is going to get interesting. The theme for camporee is Emergency Prep/Wilderness survival. Since it will be Halloween Weekend again and hoping to get the funeral home to sponsor again, I'm thinking ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. One of the ideas is each scout is to have a survival kit/ emergency prep kit/bugout bag, and they are only allowed to use stuff they can find or is in their bags for all of the events.

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I am firmly on the side of re-writing the BSHB section on fire tending/building/extinction.

 

Here is my re-write....

 

The Five Things Needed For A Camp Fire
In school , one is taught three things are needed for a fire:  Oxygen, fuel, and heat. 
For a Scout, there are FIVE things needed.  How do they compare with the three from your science class?   Play the “What If†game.   

Number one, before anything else:
1)  The Means To Extinguish The Fire.   Before anything else, how will you put it out?  Water, shovel, rake, sand/dirt.  Have sufficient means and tools collected.  Is it out?  Test firebed with the BACK of your hand… Douse, stir and douse again.
2)  A Safe Area.   Remember that 10’  diameter cleared area.  Use an established fire pit.  If a “new†fire, remember your Leave No Trace guidelines:  Fold back the sod, save the  sod to cover the burned on bare soil area.   Use an above ground fire holder:  old wheelbarrow, oil drum, charcoal grill bed, etc.
3)   Safe Atmosphere:  Land owners’ permission?  Park Ranger’s permission?  Is there a Drought?  No Fire Ban?  Make it as SMALL as necessary, not as BIG as you can!
4)  Collect Fuel Before Lighting :  Tinder, kindling, fire wood.  It is hard to stop cooking to collect more wood if you run low.  Set things up carefully before attempting to light.  
5)  The Means To Ignite The Fire:  Be Prepared!   Practice in your back yard before you are on the trail. Ceremonial fire?   Practice it first before the big night!  “No, I thought YOU had the flint and steel!â€.

 

 

Look to your old 1958  Green Bar Bill Fieldbook....

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I believe the '58 is brown covered, but don't quote me on it. :) My 196? fieldbook was green covered, if I remember correctly. I read it so much the cover came off :p .  Oldest has used it, but cannot have it. I am however afraid to let the middle read it as I already know he's going to wood tools and fires :D

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I am firmly on the side of re-writing the BSHB section on fire tending/building/extinction.

 

Here is my re-write....

 

The Five Things Needed For A Camp Fire

In school , one is taught three things are needed for a fire:  Oxygen, fuel, and heat. 

For a Scout, there are FIVE things needed.  How do they compare with the three from your science class?   Play the “What If†game.   

Number one, before anything else:

1)  The Means To Extinguish The Fire.   Before anything else, how will you put it out?  Water, shovel, rake, sand/dirt.  Have sufficient means and tools collected.  Is it out?  Test firebed with the BACK of your hand… Douse, stir and douse again.

2)  A Safe Area.   Remember that 10’  diameter cleared area.  Use an established fire pit.  If a “new†fire, remember your Leave No Trace guidelines:  Fold back the sod, save the  sod to cover the burned on bare soil area.   Use an above ground fire holder:  old wheelbarrow, oil drum, charcoal grill bed, etc.

3)   Safe Atmosphere:  Land owners’ permission?  Park Ranger’s permission?  Is there a Drought?  No Fire Ban?  Make it as SMALL as necessary, not as BIG as you can!

4)  Collect Fuel Before Lighting :  Tinder, kindling, fire wood.  It is hard to stop cooking to collect more wood if you run low.  Set things up carefully before attempting to light.  

5)  The Means To Ignite The Fire:  Be Prepared!   Practice in your back yard before you are on the trail. Ceremonial fire?   Practice it first before the big night!  “No, I thought YOU had the flint and steel!â€.

 

 

Look to your old 1958  Green Bar Bill Fieldbook....

 

well from the standpoint of NLP, I like that your 1st point fully cements the endeavor with a positive attitude....

"A FIRE, I WILL create."

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I believe it was the brown cover. I have some at home. I will look.

 

IIRC, the organization of the different "chapters" (I do not recall what they were called) act as a great template for a patrol to use as an adventure guide. It proceeds from the simple to more adventurous in small steps. Could you imagine if a patrol followed it in order; wow. What a great sequence of adventures... real scouting.

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When I was a young Sprout, outdoor program training once taught about these:

 

Scout Fire 

Hunter's Fire

Rock Fire

Reflector Fire

Trench Fire

Tepee fire

Backlog Fire

Council Fire

Log Cabin Fire

Dakota Hole Fire

 

I never found that the Reflector reflected much, but it was sure good for blocking wind.

 

Not many logs around for the Hunter's Fire in SoCal, but lots of rocks for variations of the Rock Fire.  We were encouraged to use rocks already blackened.

 

Somewhat surprised that the Dakota Hole appeared as late as 2008 (Boys' Life), given LNT

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Digging a hole is not necessarily a LNT violation. It depends on the environment in which one is in. A dakota fire hole is awesome when one needs to block wind and maximize efficiency of fuel. Think about snow conditions. Dig a hole in the snow, then the air hole. Line the fire hole with stout logs. Build the small cook fire on the ground in the hole... That is just one possible use. Using a tripod to suspend a cookpot into the hole makes it even better. Imagine the boys telling everyone how they cooked their food over a fire in a hole dug into the snow.

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I have personally seen Civil War Reenactors with massive fire set-ups, horses, trenching around tents, etc. everything that would make a seasoned LNT Scouter gasp and gnash their teeth.  Yet one week after the event, no one could tell anyone had used the park for a 3-day campsite.  It's amazing what one can do when they know how to do it correctly.

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I just got home and looked. I have a 1952 and 1955 Fieldbooks. Both brown covers. The "chapters" were called "pow wows".

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I think one of the problems with scouts and fires is that in today's world our scouts just don't use matches on a daily basis anymore. In my Grandmother home to use the stove you had to light a match. Each room had a gas heater and to stay warm you had to light a match. My father smoked a pipe so we had matches laying around the house. To light the charcoal grill you had to use a match. Today's kids have become so bubble wrapped that a match is foreign to them. I can't tell you how many times I have watched a scout use up a box of matches trying to light a camp stove.

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I think one of the problems with scouts and fires is that in today's world our scouts just don't use matches on a daily basis anymore. In my Grandmother home to use the stove you had to light a match. Each room had a gas heater and to stay warm you had to light a match. My father smoked a pipe so we had matches laying around the house. To light the charcoal grill you had to use a match. Today's kids have become so bubble wrapped that a match is foreign to them. I can't tell you how many times I have watched a scout use up a box of matches trying to light a camp stove.

 

Not just parents but everyone from CPS to government schools bends over backwards putting some imaginary safety bubble around the kids.  "Don't play with matches!!"  When was the last time anyone saw a "book of matches"?  With the campaign against smokers, even the BIC lighters are becoming a rarity in today's world.

 

I don't smoke, but I do carry a lighter.  It's called "Be Prepared."

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