It has been raining for the last couple of weeks and the ground in very wet; we have had about 5 inches of rainfall. So I decided this would be a good time to take my wife out and show her how to find dry wood. We went to an area not to far from our house and were able to find several sources of reasonably dry wood within a few minutes.
The first thing we did was look for what some people call squaw wood. This is the small dead limbs or branches under the live canopy of a tree. They are easy to find low down where they are protected from the rain. The ones found on a conifer are normally the driest; the canopy on a conifer offers the best protection against rain. In this case, most of the trees around were oaks that had mostly lost their leaves. Even so, we were able to find some reasonable dry small branches, particularly on the underside of trees that were leaning.
The few conifers that were in the area were straggly digger pine. But we were able to find dry bark on a few small branches and a bit of dry resin. After a rain, the small branches on the lower portions of the trees often dry the quickest and can make good kindling. Small pieces of wood on the ground will often stay wet the longest.
We then found a group of downed trees and there was dry bark on the underside. This was a bit hard to access so we skipped it and looked further. We soon found a partly rotten log. It was small enough that I was able to roll it over. There was a large amount of punky dry wood up inside the log. This was easy to break out with your hands. Even after two weeks of rains, this was still dry.
With the dry wood that we found it would be fairly easy to start a fire. The punky dry wood from the log would ignite easy and then I would add the squaw wood. This is something that you need to go out and do. When you start finding wood you will built up your own skills and confidence. Howard
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