How to build fire and shelter in the wild

Video highlights from Wild Survivor

Building a fire is a lot harder when trying to use traditional methods with fire sticks. What other methods did Phil ward off the cold harsh conditions of Mt Tarawera in New Zealand?

  • The key to getting an ember into a flame is patience and allowing not too much oxygen but just enough fuel or dry matter to get it to ignite. You don’t want to cramp the coal.
  • The te hika ahi is a maori fire plough technique - you rub a hard, wooden stick up and down a grooved channel in some softer wood.  Very fine dust builds up until the friction results in a glowing ember
  • Many ancient cultures traditionally used fire to fish at night.  Just like moths, some fish are drawn to flames at night.
  • Kanuka is shrub that when burnt over the fire acts as an insect repellent with nice strong aromatic oils.
  • Bracken fern is a multi-purposed plant because you can use it as kindling and bedding
  • Found in South Island NZ, Raupo grass – are dry seed heads that provide good tinder for a fire. Once you put an ember into this it ignites quickly. 

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