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Columbia Falls center teaching fire-starting skills for Montana winters

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Jan 15, 2023

COLUMBIA FALLS - Starting fires in the wet winter woods is a necessary skill for people of all ages.

“So many kids today don't get to spend time out in the woods like generations past have. They're doing sports and extracurriculars or they're spending their free time inside instead of outside. And it's really really great to see kids get outside learning skills that they can really feel accomplished about and that they can use throughout their lives and just get to experience the outdoors. It's a really wonderful place to be and generally brings a sense of relaxation and peace." - Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center program director Ashley McDonald

Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center recently held a class to teach families how to create fire in the wet winter woods.

“It's really important to have a class like this because it's one of those skills that a lot of people don't necessarily think about having. Especially you know, we have a lot of technology at our disposal most of the time, today," said McDonald.

McDonald says most people have the luxury of using their hand-held lighters to ignite a fire but in an emergency situation, "you might not know what to do, because you've either always assumed it was really easy, or you've just never thought about it at all."

The class was not just for children. People of all ages were able to learn how to spark a flame. While some of the parents made their kids take the class, they ended up enjoying the activity and spending time with their families.

Learn how to create a fire in the backcountry below.

fire in the winter woods how to

“We thought it would be boring, but we're kind of glad that because we wouldn't be doing this right now. To walk around in the forest with them, collecting materials and seeing what we can find together,” said Joseph Krumsieg and Nelson McKee.

The leaders of the class taught everyone what materials are flammable and dry when most everything in the woods is wet this time of year.

“It has to be dry your if you want your fire to be nice,” said McKee.

Having the skills to make a fire in the winter is important, especially if an emergency arises, but this class was also a good way to just get outside.

“Like a walk in the woods can be so thrilling if you take the time to really appreciate it,” said McDonald.