A few notes from a lecture on fire building. Items for use as tinder (must be completely dry)
Birch Bark Shredded inner bark from cedar, shestnut, red elm trees Fine wood shavings Dead grass, ferns, moss, fungi Straw Sawdust Very fine pitch wood scrapings Dead evergreen needles Punk (the completely rotted portion of dead logs or trees) Evergreen tree knots Bird down (fine feathers) Down seed heads (milkweed, dry cattails, bulrush, Cananda thistle, goldenrod, dandelion) Fine dried vegtable fibers Spongy threads of dead puffball Dead palm leaves Skinlike membrane lining of bamboo Lint from pocket and seams Charred cloth Waxed paper Outer bamboo shavings Gunpowder Cotton Lint
Items to be used as kindling (must be completely dry)
Small twigs Small strips of wood Split wood Heavy cardboard Pieces of wood removed from the inside of larger peieces Wood that has been doused with highly flammable materials such as gasoline, oil, or wax.
Items to be used as fuel
Dry standing wood and dry dead branches Dry inside (heart) of fallen tree trunks and large branches Green wood that is finely split Dry grasses twisted into bunches Peat dry enough to burn (this may be found at the top of undercut banks) Dried animal dung Animals fats Coal, oil shale, or oil sand lying on the surface
Characteristics of various woods Ease of Cooking Imparted
Species Starting Qualities Sparks Smoke Flavors Apple Difficult Excellent Few Little Excellent Ash Fair Good Few Little Good Aspen Fair Fair Moderate Little Good Beech Difficult Good Few Little Good Birch Easy Fair Moderate Moderate Good Cedar Easy Poor Many Many Bad Cherry Difficult Excellent Few Little Excellent Elm Fair Poor Few Heavy Bad Fir Easy Poor Many Heavy Bad Hickory Difficult Excellent Moderate Little Excellent Locust Difficult Excellent Few Little Good Maple Difficult Excellent Few Little Excellent Oak Difficult Excellent Few Little Good Pine Easy Poor Many Heavy Bad Spruce Easy Poor Many Heavy Bad Sycamore Difficult Poor Moderate Heavy Bad