First Fires

First Fires

By, Caleb MacNeil

People have asked me what are some of the most important things to know about the Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education class at TA. One of my responses is that a key component of the class is the fires. During the first fires of the year, Scott Ellis supervises us. He explained and demonstrated to us how to make a fire with only one match. This first fire was the most significant one of the year.

To make fires in this class, there must be snow on the ground because there is less danger of the fire getting out of control. When you build a fire in the winter, it is like putting the fire in a pond, on a raft; if it goes beyond the limits, the fire will fade as it hits the snow barrier. The three things that a fire needs are air, fuel and heat. If you do not have any of these things the fire will not start or keep going. The fire is a friend, not a foe. That is, if it is used correctly. 

The main time the Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education class uses fires is during the solos. To learn more about Solos click here. During this time, if you are cold the fire can help to warm you up. 

The fires were also a significant part of the overnight campout . To learn more about the overnight click here. When I was on the overnight, the fire helped me out a lot. Once the fire was going I put rocks beside it and warmed them up. When the stones were warm I took them out of the fire and put them inside my jacket to help keep me warm. The fire can help if you respect it. If you don’t respect the fire it can destroy everything.