Learning to start a fire in the snow may seem unnecessary, but knowing how to create heat in a cold and humid place could be a useful skill. In addition to keeping you warm from freezing temperatures, a fire, if ever there was such an emergency, could also keep animals away, cook and get water by melting snow and ice.
Starting a fire in the snow is very complicated, also because there will be two main problems:
- Starting a fire in the winter on the snow is much more difficult than in the summer because you will have to raise the temperature of the combustible material used to create the fire, so the fire will ignite much more slowly.
- The snow and / or ice will certainly melt and the water could put out your fire, frustrating all the work.
Well aware of the difficulties, here’s how to start a fire in the snow:
- Choose the right place: the first thing to do is to choose a place for the fire that is sheltered from wind, water and snow as much as possible. One of the typical places that are chosen to light a fire is under the trees, but be careful: when it snows, the branches of the trees are full of snow and the snow could fall and frustrate all the work. Staying under a tree, however, is an excellent idea if you want to start a fire, but first remember to free the branches from all the excess snow.
- Clean the place: once you have chosen the place, you have to remove all the snow. A fire cannot be start directly on the snow. Maybe it’s possible on ice, but even there it would be dangerous because it could melt and the water put out the fire. The snow must be removed or pressed. In the second case, remember to make sure that the water then produced does not put out the fire. The best thing to avoid it, however, is to use a lot of wood or raise the fire with rocks or cross branches. In this way, not only if there is pressed snow, the water will not put out the fire, but the soil will dry out well so that it can be used without problems.
- Prepare it best: First, raise the fire one or two inches above the ground in any case. So as to avoid that any water turns it off or that the very damp soil slows down the ignition procedure. Secondly, keep in mind that you have to reflect the heat, so as to stay warm and not to disperse the heat. A rock wall is an excellent heat reflector, as well as a large rock or tree. In emergencies, you can also use a blanket. There are also special tools, with the silver side, which are perfect for reflecting the heat.
- Fire starters: You must always have something with you that can be used as a fire starter. Waterproof matches or lighters are perfect. If you don’t have them, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly can be excellent, also because they do not go out immediately, but they burn long enough to set fire to wood and other combustible materials. You can also use pieces of dry wood, although it is more difficult. You can easily find them near the trees, as long as they are not wet.
Now the process is simple. Collect plenty of large pieces of wood to keep the fire burning, place them one or two inches above the ground and use the starter to light the fire. Remember to take enough combustible material to keep the fire constantly burning and don’t forget to bring a fire kit with you, it can always come in handy!