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#119733 - 01/11/08 05:41 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: ]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
I guess if you have 12 gauge flares you could simply build a pile of tinder/kindling and carefully fire the flare into the pile. If that don't start a fire then nothing will.

#119747 - 01/11/08 08:19 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I've gotta think that firing a flare into the ground close by would be a huge mistake...

#119758 - 01/11/08 09:24 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
If you were attempting it I guess it would be because of an emergency and you had no other choice, otherwise it would be best not to try it. I play around trying to light fires in different ways at this time of year as the risk of forest fire is non existent due to all the dammed snow. Summer would be a whole new ball game so I wouldn't risk it. Besides, if the risk of forest fire is that great then it shouldn't be that cold to begin with and rather than risk burning down half of Alberta I would just break out my blast match and make fuzz sticks. I carry a pen flare and although I haven't tried it If I had no other way I know I could make it work. Some way to prevent the flare from skipping off the ground would be needed......a hole maybe.

Edited by Taurus (01/11/08 10:31 PM)

#119759 - 01/11/08 09:30 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]

I've never been a big fan of carrying flares.

I went hiking with a buddy once. He'd picked up a new package of flares, bear bangers, and screamers. On the way home he decided that he'd shoot a few off for fun once we got back within eyeshot of the highway. ALL the bangers were duds, ALL the screamers were duds and the first flare was a dud.

#119764 - 01/11/08 10:26 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: ]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
Funny you should say that because I was considering taking my pen flare out of my kit. I honestly only carried it because it was a gift from someone and I didnít want to hurt their feelings every time they asked if I liked my new pen flare. We use a similar type at work and the small flare only burns for a couple of seconds and doesnít fly very high. You would have to almost rely on luck for someone to be looking right in that direction before it burned out to be seen. I am going to replace the pen flare with a 15 min road flare. If using it to signal I will have 15 minutes to wave it around like a mad man in the hopes someone will see it. At night someone in a plane or chopper or on the ground looking for you should look in your direction hopefully at least once in the span of 15 minutes. Better than the 2 second window offered by a pen flare. Even though I carry a signal mirror I bet it could be seen over some distance by day as well. As an emergency fire starter to be used in the Alberta cold or when pouring down rain it should work wonders. If you cant start a fire with a 15 minute road flare then you deserve to freeze to death. grin

#119799 - 01/12/08 04:55 AM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: ]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada

According to the packaging some bear bangers and screamers are also hot enough to start a forest fire, because of this the ones I shot off were in a sand pit. I have seen 12ga. flares light the bush on fire.


#119908 - 01/13/08 07:11 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: ]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
Well hacksaw my friend. While I was out and about in the beautiful Alberta weather this weekend I decided to at least partially answer this question. I donít have a 12 ga flare gun, so I used a pen flare launcher instead.
First of all, before anyone gets the wrong idea. I am not posting this to see IF it would work because we all know a flare will ignite stuff. Rather I wanted to see just HOW HARD the process would be. I recently removed the pen flare from my hunting survival kit and had a bunch of flares to play with so why not start fires with them? grin

The weather was as good as it gets in Alberta this time of year. Sunny, maybe -10 deg cel with only a soft breeze. While snowshoeing I actually had to stow my jacket and hat in my pack and just wear my thermal long sleeve shirt due to sweating. Only when the sun started to drop last night or when stopped for any length of time did I need to dig the jacket out again. In regards to the flare fire, here is how it went:

This is the only tinder I could find naturally. Even in the deepest snow there is tall grass growing above in some places. As no trees were nearby (this would be a marshy area in summer) I cut a whole pile and carried it in my pack till I got to the next tree line.

When Carried under the wet weather cover of my pack it kept the grass dry as possible.


This is the pen flare/flares. Not sure of the brand as it was a gift. As a note, it was very hard to thread the dammed flare to the launcher even in this relative mild (didnít need gloves) and took several minutes of trying to get the plastic threads on the flare to bind with the metal threads on the launcher. In a real emergency this would have been a real pain in the f#$%^$# a#$. The only other option would be to carry the flare loaded which isnít really a good idea. I had visions of me being lost and a chopper flying over head while I was cursing and fumbling trying to thread on this stupid flare. In the real Alberta cold, when it drops to -35 and below I can just imagine how much fun it would be.

I decided on a log cabin type fire. I folded large handfuls of the grass into a u shape and then stuffed the grass with the u down to form a sort of basket to catch the flare.

While Standing, I simply fired the flare strait down into the log cabin basket.
The first try was a misfire. I pulled the handle back and tried a second time. This time it worked like a charm. The flare immediately caught the grass(notice the red glow of the flare)

This is the empty hull of the fired flare with the fire now burning well. I ended up cooking lunch over it even though my stove was in my pack (sometime it just tastes better over a fire grin)

The verdict?? Damn, what can I say? I think this was the easiest fire I have ever lit in the woods, and I do it quite a bit. Itís too bad that the flare is almost worthless as a signal as designed. It is almost worth taking on my next trip just to start a fire with (lol) So.......For those who carry pen flares I am not saying they are bad. The one I have just isnít very good. I am sure they have good and bad ones like all other types of survival gear, but in a pinch they light one hell of an easy fire.

Once again, I apologize for the quality of the pics, but I had no one else to hold the camera.

#119926 - 01/13/08 08:59 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
I can see using modern smokeless gunpowder, but if you carry black powder, you might want to pass on this. Black powder is a low explosive, and it will flash, not burn. It might work, but you might lose your eyebrows (and eyes). Be careful.

#119933 - 01/13/08 09:39 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Nice Post and Photos Taurus.

I have a pen flare kit in my snowmobile and a few small marine flares scattered in other kits.

You are correct that they are a very short lived signal but they did really help a co-worker of mine a few years ago.

He was snowmobiling down a lake with a partner and he spotted something unusual on the ice so he went to investigate. It turned out to be an ice auger so he drove his snowmobile over to get it, that is when his machine broke through the ice and sank! He managed to get out of the water (floater suit and ice picks really help) but was very wet and cold. His partner stopped at the landing and waited as it was getting dark but he could not see his friends light out on the ice.

My friend then fired off a small marine flare that he had in his coat pocket and his partner realized he was in trouble. My friend walked over to the thicker ice and his partner picked him up; they rode double to a nearby occupied cottage where my friend was able to get warm and dried off.

So if you know that someone will be looking, a flare really gets the message across that you need help.

And they are really neat for lighting fires as Taurus proved!


#119934 - 01/13/08 09:48 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: ]

Originally Posted By: Buckshot
Now THIS is a good post. Good to see someone does more than sit at home and talk about what they might/could/should do when outdoors. Nice pics. but whats up with all the realtree hardwoods. You some kind of redneck? I guess alberta is the "texas" of Canada after all.

Why do you post here? You do not contribute anything useful and it is impossible to escape the impression that your only purpose in life and here on this forum, is attempting to ridicule people and make unfavorable comments such as the above and noted here.

It is one thing to offer constructive criticism, but you are below that and it is not appreciated by many here...

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