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  • Writer's pictureNick Macdougall

F i r e, Can’t Touch This!

Imagine a world without campfires! What would we sit around in the forest? Most importantly how would we roast our marshmallows!? Now imagine our ancestors who lived without fire for millions of years. Night time must have been incredibly scary. If you want to thank anyone for our comfy and cozy life, you should thank our ancestor Homo erectus.

There is no exact answer on how Homo erectus learned how to control fire, around 1 000,000 years ago, but one idea really makes sense to us at The Wildlings; forest fires. Harnessing the flames from these forest fires allowed Homo erectus to cook food, have a source of heat and protect them from predators. What other benefits did we gain from our ancestors learning how to control fire?

Like any things on our wonderful planet, fire needs certain conditions in order to be created and to be kept existing. By understanding what a fire needs, we have the knowledge to either create one or to put one out.

Watch this clip of a game show where two contestants race to build a fire… (Skip ahead one minute)

What made the winner’s fire grow faster?

Do you think the woman blowing on the fire was a good idea and why?

What are some things we could not see in the video that may have affected the fires?

Would you do this challenge differently?

Imagine, you are in the woods and need to start a fire for warmth and to cook. You are surrounded by large green vegetation (another name for collection of plants), dead trees, and fallen leaves. What available materials can you think of that would be best to use for a fire and why? What makes some materials better than others?

Homo erectus. Characterized by its upright stance and robust build, this early hominin species lived from 1.8 million to 200,000 years ago.


The Fire Triangle: What Every Fire Needs

The Fire triangle is a diagram explaining what a fire needs in order to burn. These three very important ingredients are oxygen, Heat, and fuel. Some examples of these are the air around us (oxygen), Spark (Heat), Wood (Fuel). Below is a great video explaining the three elements of the fire triangle and their relationship to one another using some interesting experiments.

What are some things talked about in the video that you already knew about fire?

What are some facts about fire that surprised you?

What safety measures were taken during the experiments?

BURNING Questions…

1. Is fire living or nonliving?

2. Fire Class: Defines the type of fire based on what materials are being burned as fuel. Research each fire class and try to explain in your own words.

Class A Fire:

Class B Fire:

Class C Fire:

Class D Fire:

Class E Fire:

3. What are some things we can do to ensure a campfire is safe to use and will have the least impact on the environment?

4. From Canada to Kathmandu, humans have found their own unique fire starting traditions. After researching these methods. What different materials and methods are used? What do they have in common? Is one better than the other? Is this a method you could learn to do?

5. Starting a fire is one thing; keeping it going can leave you burnt out…as we saw in the first video. Explore the different methods people have discovered to keep their fire alive as well as take them along on their journeys. Are some more complicated than others? How long can the fire be left without going out? Are these methods still used today?

Get Digging! Stay Safe and Stay Wild!

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