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Is Bark a Good Fire Starter?

is tree bark a good fire starter

You must have experienced a time when it started to get cold while you were camping, and you felt the need for heat. In that situation, when there’s not much you can do, tree bark can save you.

So, is bark a good fire starter? Indeed it is. Tree bark is a good fire starter as it catches fire even when wet and burns hot. This is especially true with birch bark.

The bark is quite useful not only in camping but for barbeques or bonfires as well. Especially birch bark, which is hydrophobic because botulin makes it waterproof. 

How to Start a Fire Using Bark

This point is especially important to note because you need to know how to start a fire. Luckily, it’s not a very difficult task. 

Here’s what you should do:

  • Shape the shavings into a loose mass and wrap them in a stack of fine twigs into a gap. 
  • Spark the tinder mass by bringing a match flame underneath it, clutched by the breeze. 
  • Move it to a smooth surface when it begins to catch fire. 
  • Make a teepee over the fire using firewood sticks and larger pine fragments. Act with a rock over the cedar bark to crush the fibers. 
  • With your fingertips, take the threads apart and move them back and forth between your palms. 

Everybody should have an emergency fire starter kit in their arsenal. This 5-in-1 fire starter kit by Swiss Safe will start a fire instantly. You will get over 15,000 strikes as well as a built in compass, whistle, and a steel scraper.

Is It Okay To Burn Bark?

If you ask us, burning bark is okay only in certain situations. Burning bark can have a lot of harmful consequences, but this skill does come in handy sometimes. 

There’s nothing especially wrong with burning bark. However, it doesn’t seem to be worth the effort.  Gathering wood takes a lot of time and effort, but when you burn bark you only get a little fire.  

Many people claim that burning bark releases too many creosotes, but if the bark’s dry enough, that doesn’t happen. This means that the normal firewood we use may have remanants of bark on it.

The bark also shouldn’t be burned because it destroys national vegetaion. It’s also dirty to deal with, which means you’ll have to spend a lot of time cleaning up. 

Which Wood Should You Not Burn?

When burned, all woods release toxins in their smoke. When you burn warmer fires, it can produce thicker fumes. 

There are primarily 11 kinds of wood that we can’t burn in the fireplace. These include: 

  • Greenwood or unseasoned wood because its bark is overloaded with water which needs to dry out first. It’s hard to light it on fire. If you are able to do so, this wood burns efficiently but smokes horribly.
  • Christmas Trees becausethe needles on the Christmas trees contain nitrogen. Thus, when burned produces toxic, suffocating, irritating, and corrosive gas components.
  • Driftwood sincethe salts in it contains chlorine. When the bark burns, it converts into cancer-causing substances.
  • Non-local wood, which includes emerald ash borer, the gold spotted oak borer, the Asian longhorned beetle. The pests in these barks move along when burned, and that infected tree can infect the whole forest.
  • Oleander because it’s an extremely poisonous tree, and the smoke it emits on burning can be deadly when inhaled.
  • Plywood, particleboard, or chipboard. On burning their barks, the trees emit toxic, cancerous fumes and heat the whole place at a high rate that is not safe for the fireplace and chimney.
  • Poisonous wood releases toxic gases on burning.
  • Endangered species as they have five resistant insulations, which is exhibited through the thickness of their bark, vegetative insulation, etc.

How Can Firewood Be Dried Quickly?

At first, you’ll have to collect the removed branches and then cut them into lengths that would fit your wood stove. Split the wood and stack it to allow air to circulate between the pieces but keep it out of contact with the ground.

In case you have huge rounds of greenwood, you’ll have to place them on the uncut side for a few weeks before splitting. Split wood dries quickly as compared to the whole round. 

After that, leave the wood uncovered to get it dry quickly. You can also cover the wood with tar paper or a plastic sheet to keep away any moisture in case of rain or snow.

Bring some firewood indoors two days before you want to burn it and spread it out in a way that the air will circulate all sides of the wood. Check for any moisture on the wood beforehand and clean up any you find. 

The first thing you’ll need to do after arriving at the camp will be looking for firewood. Shelter it in a dry place. You could stack it under a tree. If it’s still moist, either spread it to allow air to pass through it or cover it with tar paper. Once you’ve light it up, you can put the still wet pieces near the fire to get them dry. 

Final Thoughts

If the bark is clean and dry, it can be used as an excellent way to get a fire started. Bark burns very quickly and hot, which is one of the key elements to getting a good fire started.

Birch bark is a great choice in this scenario as it is highly flammable compared to other barks. You can simply light it with a match or lighter and it will burn to the point where you can get a good campfire going.

Although birch bark is great to use in case of nothing better, it’s always best to come prepared by bringing an emergency fire starter kit in case of an instance where you need to start a fire and there is no birch bark around.

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