For all fires, three
things are necessary both to start them and to sustain them: Oxygen,
Heat, and Fuel. Take any one of these three away and a fire
will go out. It will also be impossible to start a fire without all three
The Primitive Skills Fire Triangle
With primitive fire skills, there are
another three main factors which come into
play: Skill, Materials, and Power. These can be envisioned as making up a
triangle, as shown here:
Generally speaking, when one is making fire using a primitive method, these
three aspects are balanced.
However, if one of them is decreased, then the
others must be increased.
For example, suppose you are trying to make a bowdrill fire with poor
wood. It is still possible to do it, but your skill and power must be
increased. Or, suppose you are not feeling very energetic (strong) one day
and so have less power than usual. If your materials are of higher quality and you
have a higher degree of skill, you can still get a fire. Another example ...
Let's say you have almost no skill, having never made fire with a bow drill
previously. Well, if your materials are of good quality, and you have power,
then you can still make fire. Or, if you have not much power either, but
your materials are of exceptional quality, then you may still get fire. And
And finally, if you have any two of the elements, but are
completely lacking the third, it becomes next to impossible to start a fire.
For example, if you are highly skilled at a
particular fire-making method, and have lots of muscle power, but you have
no materials or extremely poor materials (maybe only water-soaked logs are
available), then making a fire will be impossible or nearly so.
course, there are lots of exceptions! It doesn't take much power (muscle
power, that is), to make a fire using a magnifying lens. One could say that
the power is in the sun.
Rob Bicevskis for this explanation)