pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Fire Making at Coyote Hills Regional Park

Fire Making at Coyote Hills Regional Park

On Sunday D. and I learned how to make fire at Coyote Hills Regional Park. Naturalist Dino Labiste taught us about the various fire-making methods: fire by friction (rubbing two sticks together), fire by percussion (striking a flint), and fire by compression (fire pistons, thought to be an offshoot of ancient Southeast Asian blowgun manufacture). Here's some pics I took.

Outside the Visitor's Center entrance, a path is blocked off due to "flooding."

There is no flooding. 

The same path is also closed off from the other side due to a "track meet" (or a "slow track meet").

Liars!  There is no track meet.

But the ceanothus is in gorgeous bloom!

And they didn't have to close the path because of it, either!

Inside the Visitor's Center we see a bighorn sheep skull in the classroom.

Outside, D. assists as Naturalist Dino prepares to make fire by compression using a fire piston.

Once an ember is created in the fire piston, Dino transfers it to the tinder for D. to blow on to coax it into flame.

And we have fire!!

D. created this fire using a bow drill to ignite a flame.  The hearthboard is visible on the left.

The bow drill, a sophisticated way of "rubbing two sticks together," consists of 4 parts: the bearing block, the spindle (or drill), the bow and the hearthboard (or fire board).  Downward pressure is applied by pushing down on the bearing block as the spindle is spun back and forth by the bow, causing the friction that heats up the tiny granules of wood worn away from the hearthboard by the spindle (called char dust).

It is quite exciting to see wisps of smoke coming from the char dust as it heats up under friction.  When about 800º F is reached it ignites into an ember, which is transferred on a dry leaf to the tinder material (in our case, cattail down and dry pine needles). Blowing into the tinder bundle increases the fire of the ember until it bursts into flames.

It takes an enormous amount of elbow grease to get past the wispy smoke stage to an actual ignited ember.  Making fire by any friction method is a true aerobic workout.  Many neolithic cultures kept their fire going at all costs as it was not a casual undertaking making it from scratch.

That is a total lie!  There is not a single sheep in sight, anywhere.

Just exactly what kind of regional park is this, anyway?  First a flood, then a track meet, then sheep, and now this?

Anyway, there was no such!  All lies!  

Firestarters, all! 

Tags: coyote hills regional park, field trip, fire, sign

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