NFR Tips and tricks for camp fires in the wet forest of NW WA?

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
Building a campfire in the South West is usually quite easy. I've done it hundreds of times. But now that I live in western Washington I find it necessary to learn the "ways of the land" when it comes to making a campfire here. I am currently studying "fat wood". After finding some, and playing with it in my kitchen, I am amazed at how flammable it is. Anyhow.....I realize that this is a very broad subject but...I'd like to get better at starting a campfire in wet conditions and any input would be most appreciated.
 

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
A retired fireman once showed me that if you can get an empty (plastic) milk jug to catch a flame it makes starting a campfire very easy. I've used that tip many times (with all types of plastic) and I always think of Kirby the fireman.
 

Yard Sale

Huge Member
A retired fireman once showed me that if you can get an empty (plastic) milk jug to catch a flame it makes starting a campfire very easy. I've used that tip many times (with all types of plastic) and I always think of Kirby the fireman.

WTF?

At the very least throw down a couple paper plates and a mound of basic charcoal and get that going.
At Best buy a cheapo bbq and use the top half as a fire pan and have a fire in that.
Basically the only reason it’s hard to light a fire in wet territory is that it sucks up the moisture out of the ground. Create a barrier and you will have success.
 

SHD

Active Member
I don’t use primitive fire starting methods when camping and generally have some dry stuff ready before I go out. I always carry a bunch of free newspapers in the rig (The Stranger, Seattle Weekly etc). Crumple a bunch of sheets into balls at the base of your fire area on top of a flat bed of dry sticks. Build a teepee of smaller kindling on top of the paper balls and carefully balance a few larger pieces of wood around that. Light fire starting with The paper balls at the core. Add wood as necessary.

It can be difficult to harvest enough dry material in the field during the wet season to get a good fire going in PNW. Look for dry wood and dead branches under mature trees. Dead, dry lichens and pine needles and cones are a good kindling source. Dry bigger fuel sources around the fire before burning.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Remove costco gas firepit (or portable pit of your choice) from the trunk or storage bin and place on level ground away from flammables. Attach gas hose to tank and open valve. Press start button. Don't have one yet but with summer fire danger and the grandkids getting old enough to camp I'm actually thinking this way.
For camping I use paraffin soaked rag pieces. Sometimes I can, make jelly, with a paraffin seal, and I get years worth during cleanup. Do some strike anywhere matches too. My grandmother taught me that.
I find the old TeePee pyramid built small to big starting with knife shavings works well.
Those of us who still use coleman stoves know a few drops of white gas works wonders too.
 
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splett

Active Member
Standing dead wood is the key to harvesting wood during the wet season. Split it to get to the dry heart wood. Fat wood and pitch and ceder are our Birch bark. Dead lower limbs are also a good source. Theres a man that has property up on the south fork of the Hoh who I have seen start a fire with a bow drill in the middle of winter in the pouring rain just to prove it can be done. He has video of it on the you tube somewhere. I either use a chainsaw and maul if I am in the adventure van or a Silky saw and my hatchet if on foot. In my fishing pack I cary a small soldering torch as an emergency lighter in case I break a leg and need to hunker down and am not able to play boy scout. God luck and have fun!
 

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