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Briar Patch Outdoors

Ice Fire Field Test - Intro

by David McIntyre

The idea of making fire from ice is not new; others have done it, experimented with it, and written about it.   It is a proven fact that ice can be shaped into a lens that will concentrate enough light to ignite tinder. 

Often, when this topic comes up, much of the discussion centers on the difficulty of making clear ice.  Water that freezes quickly traps air and impurities in it that ruin the optical quality necessary for a lens.  Nature, however, often forms clear ice all on its own. Here in Pennsylvania small waterfalls on mountain streams splash water on downed trees and form large formations of crystal clear ice.  Falling water conditions on rivers create beautiful clear ice formations.  Icicles form slowly and are usually optically clear.    

Recently my son Daniel and I discovered that the creek behind the house was covered with a thick layer of clear ice.  For a guy who normally lives in Brazil this was a rare opportunity to attempt to make fire with an ice lens.  The question I set out to answer is this: Was it possible for a novice like me to make fire from ice under field conditions using only simple tools and resources collected in the same place as the ice?


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Briar Patch Outdoors
219 Holmes Street
Durand MI 48429
(989) 288-0168

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