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How to build an efficient fire using a single log – the Swedish Fire Torch

Swedish Fire Torch (aka Canadian Cancle) - simple fire using a single log

The Swedish Fire Torch, also known as a Canadian Candle, is a simple and efficient method to make a fire using a single log.  In addition to being easy to ignite and control, it is small and compact, burns long (is a self-feeding fire method), and provides not only excellent warmth but a stable platform for cooking.  It is also useful in wet weather or snow as the main fuel source is kept off of the wet ground.

To make a Swedish Fire Torch, find a single log, the thicker, the better (flat ends help too).  Make cuts in the wood as if you are cutting a pie into slices (4-6 wedges).  Leave about six inches of uncut wood at the base of the log.  If the wood completely splits (or lack of stability necessitates), dig a small hole underneath the log and place the log (uncut end first) into the hole allowing the edges of the hole to hold the wedges together.  Pour fuel (oil, paper, tinder, etc.) into the cuts and light.

The gaps allow air to freely circulate providing oxygen to the fire.  As the fire burns, ashes and flames from the tinder will drop into the gaps igniting the lower areas of the log.  The Swedish Fire Torch will burn for two to three hours.

Note: You may wish to dig a fire pit around the log. When the log burns down, you can tip it over to use as a foundation for a larger, longer-sustaining campfire.

The Canadian Candle was used extensively during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) by soldiers who used the method for heating and cooking while in the field.

Swedish Fire Log (Canadian Candle)
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