Now Reading
How to Start a Fire in an Emergency

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency. If you find yourself in an emergency, there are some primary priorities you need to address before implementing the second phase of your survival plan. Without prioritizing these basic survival protocols and techniques, things can start to look grim very quickly.

Whether you are lost in the wilderness or escaping a dangerous urban situation, the first thing you need to do is find a safe space away from any direct threats.

You must then find water. While you can live without food for up to two months in extreme conditions, without water, you will only last a matter of days before dehydration shuts down your body.

Next, you will need to find shelter from the elements, whether a makeshift shelter in the wilderness or an abandoned building in an urban environment.

How to Start an Emergency Fire

How to Start a Fire in an  Emergency
Photo by Ihsan Adityawarman from Pexels

The best way to dry out, stay warm, and stave off dangerous predators, is to light a fire. However, what if you have no matches or lighter handy?

What if the material around you is too wet to get a starter flame going? It is a dire situation, especially in a wilderness survival scenario, whereas, in the city, urban waste and debris are available to use to your advantage.

Luckily, making a fire from seemingly nothing is one of humanity’s most outstanding achievements, meaning we have the entirety of human history from which to learn fire-starting skills.

Read on to learn how to start a fire in an emergency or survival situation and how a survival kit subscription from Battlbox could save your life.

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency Find Fuel

The first thing you need to start an emergency fire is starter fuel or tinder. Finding dry tinder material in an urban setting will be easier; however, finding dry fuel can be challenging if you are in damp or wet isolated outdoor conditions.

In an urban scenario, you may look for things such as:

  • Paper
  • Napkins
  • Dry leaf litter
  • Dry cloth
  • Cotton wool and more

While in an outdoor setting, you would try and locate

  • Dry grass
  • Dry leaf litter
  • Papery tree bark like silver birch
  • Cloth from clothes and more

Your fuel needs to be light and fibrous so it can catch alight from lower-level heat friction or a small spark. If your wilderness tinder is damp, all hope is not lost. However, you may have to get a little creative.

Some other things you can do to make effective tinder in the wet include:

  • Creating thin wood shavings with a survival knife, axe or sharp object
  • Pulling off tree bark to find dryer layers of bark
  • Stabbing your knife into a log and stripping medium branches into smaller strips
  • Looking under the surface of wet leaf litter and more.
How to Start a Fire in an  Emergency

Even if you have been searching for hours, keep thinking creatively, continue looking, and don’t panic. Focusing on one task at a time is a great way to stay calm and focused. Just keep your mind ticking, and don’t give up.

Remember to look for larger fuel like bark-covered logs that haven’t soaked through and other dry matter. You need to keep this fire going until you decide to move on.


Now that you hopefully have a tinder and fuel solution, it is time to get this fire going. If you have a survival knife and a magnesium strike or lighter, then you are somewhat prepared.

However, if you are collecting your tools on the fly, you will have to use one or more of the following options.

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency Flint and Steel

If you can find a piece of carbon steel and a piece of stone like flint, then you have a good chance of catching a spark from striking them together.

Other types of rock from the flint family include:

  • Quartz
  • Chert 
  • Obsidian 
  • Agate
  • Jasper

The main criterion is for the rock to be harder than the steel, creating a spark of hot metal on impact.


The next best option is if you don’t have a flame or spark to achieve ignition via friction. Dry friction occurs when two solid surfaces, like two pieces of wood, create opposing forces in motion.

As a result, the act of the wood rubbing together creates heat. If you can create enough kinetic friction, then you can use that heat to ignite your tinder.

See Also
Best Lock For Storage Unit - Locks Worth Buying

There are several methods and techniques you can use to create sufficient friction to ignite your fuel:

The biggest problem with the hand drill and fire plough methods is that they require a lot of personal energy. You want to conserve your energy as much as possible in a survival or emergency situation.

The best thing about both the bow drill and the pump fire drill apparatus is that you can make all components from scratch out of wood with a basic survival knife.

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency What Next?

If you have found a source of clean water, and are safe where you are, then it may be best to wait where you are for help and keep your fire going. The fire smoke will help pinpoint your location if there are people looking for you.

If you are running low on water, then you need to move as soon as possible! Travel during the daylight hours to stay warm, and ensure you find shelter and start a new fire before sundown.

Have you ever made a fire from scratch? It is good to have a good survival kit or bug out bag ready in case things take a turn for the worse.

The team at Battlbox have a range of high-quality, pre-made survival kit subscriptions that will have you prepared for anything.

How to Start a Fire in an Emergency. Have you signed up for the My Gear Expert mailing list? When you sign up, you receive notifications about new helpful lifestyle content and gain access to exclusive offers and members-only deals

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top