Burn Baby Burn

As the Paralympics is starting today and the flame that burns in all of the capital cities of the UK (London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh) was lit by scouts. The flames were lit from a flame created on the top of the highest peaks in the United Kingdom.

I would hope that you would have heard of this as the press coverage was good and there were even footage of Lord Coe with some scouts on top of Snowdon.

The only think about it all that slightly disheartened me was the quote on the BBC website that said

Scouts struck a metal rod against a rough steel surface to ignite sparks to light the flame.

OK as a scout we all will know that they will have struck a steel surface against a flint rod, it is after all a flint and steel. Or at least that is what I thought until I did some research.

The classic flint and steel (pictured above) that we as scouts probably know is not made of flint, it will be made of ferrocerium.

Ferrocerium is a man-made metallic material that gives off a large number of hot sparks at temperatures at 3,000 °F (1,650 °C) when scraped against a rough surface, such as ridged steel

So I have to bow to the knowledge of the BBC and their statement, the scouts striking the flame will have struck a metal rod against a rough steel surface.

Who Knew? – well, maybe you did.

While we are on the topic of fires and flint and steels I would like to impart a little piece of wisdom that I have come across in relation to the starting of fires as a scout leader.

The most important item in your fire starting kit is tinder.

You may think this is pretty obvious but it still amazes me the number of people who try to light fires with a sheet of paper and wonder why they can never get the thing to burn.

So I am going to let you in on a little Kiff secret, I have found a very cheap easy to get hold of and very good tinder, it takes a spark from a flint and steel really well and becomes a glowing ember, burns really well and so far (touch wood) it has never let me down in single match or Flint and Steel fire lighting.

So what is this miracle material I hear you ask

Tumble Dryer Lint

Clean out the lint trap from your tumble dryer (if you have one) and put the collected dust bunny in a storage tin, I have an old coffee tin on top of our dryer that we fill every time we empty the lint trap. This stuff is bone dry and very flammable and will easily take a spark. I have used it no end of times to start the garden burner or my fire pit as well as using it to demonstrate fires to scouts.

If you get a chance try it, burn something and let me know how you get on or tell me your top fire lighting tip in the comments below.
Blogger(atempting), Project Manager - Job, Scouting - Hobby, and most importantly Dad and Husband For more information https://jabbering.co.uk/about_me/


  1. @KrisMcCabe87
    29 August, 2012

    This is a very good post.

    I have bags of tumble drier fluff simply for this reason.

    1. Kiff
      29 August, 2012

      Glad to see I am not the only one with a tin of tumble dryer fluff

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