I have been playing with fire since I was probably too young to play with fire by most of today’s parents’ sissified standards. Over the years, I like to think that I have become pretty good at it. I know how to start fires with many different methods, firestarters, tinders, and fuels. Christmas night, I was humbled by some very, very wet wood. I might whine a bit here, so I apologize for that.

I have not lit any fires in our firepit in a few weeks. Laziness, cold weather, rain, blah blah blah. I’m sure there’s something good to blame it on, but I just haven’t made one in a while. Argo (my dog) was nice enough to unroll an entire roll of jute twine a while back, so that has been sitting in my firepit since he unrolled it, waiting for me to use it to get a blaze going.

The weather has been nice enough to grace us with rain every day or two for about a month, so everything was nice and soaking wet. Rain had been falling for a good bit of the day, and there were still puddles covering out patio. Leaves and pine straw covered my pile of branches that I have gathered from the yard, keeping the moisture in the pile very effectively. Splitting the wood or creating feather sticks reveled more wetness instead of some nice, dry parts like it normally does.

I built a nice little log cabin fire with the driest branches I could find in the pile. In retrospect, using some literally dripping wet jute as the core of my fire was probably not the best plan. I started it with some wax and sawdust firestarters, which have always been extremely effective in my past experience.

Now, I got the fire going just fine after some coaxing, and was able to keep it going for a couple of hours. This required perpetual maintenance, rearranging the fire, blowing on it almost to the point of passing out, and adding several wax and sawdust firestarters in the beginning. I kept thinking, “What if this were a situation where I actually needed a fire?” Even in a casual backpacking situation, I would not have wanted or maybe even been able to constantly tend to the fire, with other tasks like setting up a tent, cooking dinner, etc. to tend to.

This was the first time in a long time that I have had trouble with fire. Do you ever have trouble getting a good fire going? Let me know in the comments.

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