Light Wet Wood
Fire provides warmth, comfort, and an unmistakable signal to search teams.
1. Get out of the wind.
Settle down on the lee side of a boulder or rock wall, or behind a stand of trees (make sure there are no low overhanging branches that could catch fire). If that’s not enough, build a wall of rocks or dig a pit to protect your fire.
2. Create a dry base.
Dig through snow, wet leaf litter, or mud until you hit dry dirt. No luck? Build a platform over the snow or soil with rocks or the driest wood you can find.
3. Prep your tinder.
The trunks and branches of still-standing dead trees are often drier than fallen kindling. Peel sticks with a knife to access the dry interior beneath the bark. Tuck any still-damp tinder in the chest pocket of your jacket while you gather wood; your body heat will help dry it.
4. Gather wood.
In a true survival situation, you can shirk Leave No Trace guidelines a bit. Pile up more wood than you think you’ll need; damp conditions sap heat, so it’ll take more fuel to get a big fire going. Once you coax up a blaze, arrange damp logs around the perimeter of the flames to dry out.