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Fire in the Dark

Bow's Blindfolded Fireboard

by Allan "bow" Beauchamp

Many skills comes from the bush. This article is about just one of those skill sets I have learned. I call it "Bow's Blind-folded Fireboard".

In the first picture we see some troops working on a fire board beside a fire. Nice concept -- the idea of making a fire beside a fire to keep you warm and provide some light! However, on this training it wasn't to be that easy! I'll explain.

With my training for the troops I always like to challenge them in ways most never get. I show them real skills and how sometimes they are needed when you're in the bush. This evening, after a long day in the bugs and working other important skills, I had made a fire on this large rock outcrop. We were talking and discussing our life cycles and where some of us have been or would like to go. The evening was full of laughter, and looking at the stars and viewing the night sky, it was truly one of those nights to remember about being deep in the bush.

Then I stopped the flow of laughter and asked, "if we went off this rock and down into the bush away from the light, could you make a fire with a fire board from the bush, right now?"

Now , the attention span was high. I mentioned to the troops that it is possible, and how it falls under one of my "blind-folded techniques'" that from time to time I display on my courses.

So, the challenge now at 1:00am in the morning, beside this fire we were all sleeping at, was to not put any more wood on this fire, go into the bush, get your materials, and before the fire goes out make coal from your fire boards!

Sounds easy enough -- but is it, and have you actually tried it? Or ever heard of any one doing this?

So, the troops starting this challenge, were off on this learning of this new skill.

This picture shows some of the troops, working diligently. It's not as easy as you might think... Let's analyze this, shall we?

Yes you have a fire. However, when you walk away from a fire, and you must go to the bush, to collect your material, your night vision really gets a workout. Anyone who has done this will attest that it's very difficult. When you must go "into" the bush to collect wood for this, it is not easy, as the wood is not at the "edge" of the fire's light, especially this place I had selected to stop -- the wood wasn't that easily accessible.

When you view the first two pictures and read my explanation of what was occurring at 1:00am, it probably never seemed that much of a challenge. However, when taken with a flash at close range, (or did you think of this?) it looks like not a really hard challenge. So, now, if we don't use the flash and take the picture like it was really happening, this picture will now show you what this challenge really looked like at this early time, when most are sleeping!!

So, it seems the troops are working harder than it looked initially!

So, here we have one individual who has accomplished this challenge and learned a new skill and a new way of approaching it!
Most people, when they think of a fire board, always have a picture in their mind of a nice day, things are working well and you see the coal forming and spirits are high. And you have a real sense of accomplishment, and believe me you should!

But, how about when you're in the bush, things aren't always good and you now need a fire. But it's not so nice out, and the canopy over head is dense and its dark, real dark! But, the need for fire is very high!

When people view the photos of "Bow's Bush Fungus Fire Board" how many sit there and say, "where did that skill come from", or was it just good reading?

Well, this skill was developed by myself, not from a book I read, or something I polished up, but from being in the bush, in a situation and needing a fire!

Ill keep it short, but I will explain...

One time deep in the bush, in the dark, I was in need of a fire. Working on my fire board, I was a blinded as I could ever be, working away by feel to produce this coal (without a fire near by). This was a very difficult task. However, I managed, as did my troops on our training. While I was doing this skill and seeing the need for a much more effective way of doing it, not only to save time, but to be guaranteed the end result would be there when I needed it, my idea of the "Bow's Fungus Fire Board" was invented!

The rest is history. I had made it work, and to display how effective it was, I also did this skill for this site, in -40 below zero, and again, with my hand drills using this same technique.

And once I had my fire lit, I boiled my water, and "Bow's Fungus Stove'' now came alive!

The articles were developed as a result of an event and time spent in the bush, which produced these unique skills.

They are important skills, as I have come to learn. Many times I have been deep in the bush, and needed something to make life easier there or perhaps be in some sort of difficult situation. I use the bush in all four seasons during the year and all hours of the night!

I'm certain that for someone out there this skill will be important!

Good luck, and God's speed!

--"Allan "bow '' Beauchamp.

Bow's Bush Fungus Fire Board
Bow's Fungus Stove
Another view of Bow's Bush Fungus Fire Board
Fungus fire board in extreme cold.

More information about Tinder Fungus can be found here.