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Check out the video on how to impress your friends by lighting a fire using a flint! (also known as a "firesteel")! With no gas, a flint is more dependable than a lighter: no risk of explosion if you leave it in the sun, no need to refill it, and finally it won't let you down when it's wet.
For a camp fire, first of all you will need to find a good fuel source, one that you will light with the sparks from the flint: resins-soaked woodchips, small well-dried twigs, small pieces of wood, possibly a paper, cotton soaked in alcohol or lighter fluid but this is less eco-friendly... Bushcraft experts (this fun, increasingly popular survival activity) frequently use Amadou (or tinder fungus) to start their fire, it is a fungus that we find on the bark of trees, the inner moss of which will give you a long-lasting ember.
Have the rest of the fuel source to which you will spread the flame ready: create a small "tepee" or cone, made from twigs starting with the thinnest pieces of wood. You will place your fuel source under this tepee once ignited (you can also choose to ignite your fuel source when it is already placed in the centre of the pile of twigs).
To start your fire, place your abutting flint on top of your fuel source tilted at an angle of 30 to 45°. The sparks will therefore fall on the fuel and ignite it. To help it to get going, you can gently blow on the small fire.
A little tip: instead of rubbing the scraping surface on the flint you can also remove the flint from under the scraping surface (with this movement your hand will come towards you, rather than shooting in front and risking knocking over the pile of fuel that you have created already).
It is worth noting: lighting a camping stove is very easy but lighting a fire with a flint requires more experience, practise and home before going bivouacking (it's not unusual to take twenty minutes the first time)!
- Check in advance that the local authorities or prefectural authorities have not banned camp fires during this period. Please note in France, fires are prohibited within 200 m of woods, forests, plantations, heathland, maquis and bushland for everyone other than the owners and their beneficiaries.
- Choose a site sheltered from the wind and if possible near to a water source.
- Make your fire on a rocky surface or bare soil, far from stumps, trees and hanging branches, also make sure that you leave a significant space between the fire and your equipment (tents, bags, sleeping bags, food, etc.).
- Surround your fire with stones or, failing this, dig out a shallow hole in the ground in which to light the fire.
- In order to make your fire easier to control and extinguish, keep it small, i.e. the height and diameter of the flames must not exceed 1 m. This also makes it more practical for cooking food.
- Always keep a small water reserve nearby (bowl, flasks, pans, etc.).
When lighting your fire, use only paper or solid fire lighters. Never use inflammable liquid products.
- Naturally, do not throw any waste in the fire, particularly if it is made of plastic or aluminium!
- Never leave the fire unsupervised. Gather together all the elements that have come in contact with the fire in the fireplace and extinguish it, by pouring water on the embers at least twice before leaving the site or going to sleep. Make sure that there are no remaining hot points. Scatter any remaining wood if it has not come in contact with the fire. Clean up the area as much as possible.
- Finally, if you are with children, keep an eye on them while the fire is active and explain the dangers and risks of fires to them.