Lighting a Fire With Water Soaked Wood and Napalm

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Pablo Edronkin

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Despite that napalm has gained a terrible reputation serving in flamethrowers and incendiary bombs, it offers unsurpassed and unsuspected qualities as a survival tool; here we will show you in practical terms how to light a fire using water soaked wood.

It seems somewhat ironical that at times when you need a camp fire most it becomes harder to light one up: After rained has poured in your area, staring a fire for survival purposes might prove exceedingly hard, even for seasoned outdoors-type people. But there is a choice and is a weapon turned pacifist. Napalm is a well-known incendiary compound used for military purposes: it was develop as a substitute for gasoline in Molotov cocktails during WWII and it proved much better because it doesn't evaporate and works the same. As a weapon it became very effective and attained a really dark reputation but as in the case of other things, even napalm can do better service to us than burning people, animals, plants and properties. For starting fires under hard conditions it is probably one of the best combustibles available to humankind today.

A typical scenario for this technique.

The simplest version of napalm requires mixing thoroughly just five parts of wax used for polishing floors, three parts of sawdust or an equivalent finely chopped, wooden or cloth-based matter, and two parts of powdered soap. Now, I am not telling this to you in order to train a terrorist or give you the tools to produce an accident, so be careful! Napalm burns very well and quite long, so don't toy around with this stuff. If you prepare a bit for survival usage, store it inside a plastic or metal container with a good lid: Unlike most combustibles, napalm will retain its qualities even after seven or eight years, so you won't need to prepare it in excessive quantities. Bear in mind to store it like any sort of fuel, away from heat and sparks, don't use it for anything else other than starting fires, and don't let children play with it.

You will find at the bottom of this article page a short video that was taken as I tried to lit a campfire using thoroughly-soaked wood. The first thing to say is that despite its good properties, not even napalm offers a magical solution, so, I attempted two or three times to lit the bonfire using the stuff; notice that each time I use a fairly small amount of the salmon-coloured stuff instead of big blobs. I could probably throw all what I had in and burn the hell out of that wood, but survival and ecothinking principles preclude any prudent person from that because your provisions must be used sparingly. As a general rule, never use all what you have in just one attempt.

Notice how small bits of wood need to be added until the fire gathers enough heat to keep on going. This is very important in the case of fires made in moisture-laden environments; you need to pay special attention to this and thus, with experience you will see that in the case of such fires, it is particularly effective to add progressive large pieces of wood ending up with things as large as trunk sections in order to create a lot of embers that will help drying the wood added later. Fires started in relatively dry environments and with wood that doesn't contain moisture end up being generally smaller and are easier to manage. Of course, no fire, even in rainy conditions, should be left unattended.

Starting a fire from moist wood and napalm.

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