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Beginner Skills

Burn, Baby, Burn

3 surefire ways to light a reluctant fire

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1. Small, steady flame.

Make an all-weather firestarting kit with 150-grit sandpaper, several “magic” candles, and waterproof matches. You’ll always have a dry striking surface, and a flame that relights even if blown out by the wind.

2. Fast, hot burn.

Smear cotton balls with petroleum jelly and store them in a film canister. One ball will throw good flames for about 5 minutes, enough to light a fistful of damp kindling.

3. Flamethrower.

Put wood shavings, sawdust, or dryer lint in a cardboard egg container. Pour on melted wax to fill the individual compartments. Each cup will produce a 5-inch blaze for 5 to 15 minutes.