So you need to build a robust file quickly and start cooking in a few minutes. What, no dried leaves for starting the fire?
But that’s one important component for building quick, no-cost fires. Wait, just how dry is “dry”? If you think any fallen leaveswould foot the bill, well, the answer is “no”. What you need are leaves that would pass what I call the “crush test”.
To do this:
- Get a few of the browned leaves, cut or fallen, it doesn’t matter. (left pic)
- Crush them by closing your fist. (center pic)
- If the leaves give that crackling sound AND bits of the leaves actually break off, then yes, they’re good firestarters.
And if you get leaves much drier than this, then that’s even better. Obviously, dried leaves that got wet or are damp don’t count. They’ll probably burn but you’ll get more smoke too. Remember, the more water content your fuel has, the more smoke you’ll get because the water has to be evaporated first in the form of “steamy” smoke. (right pic)