Starting Fires with Resin

Yesterday, I took one of my grandsons out for a hike and at the end we practiced a little fire making.  One thing I often do when walking in the woods is gather dried resin from the trees.  Where I live, it seems to be easier to find on the evergreens.  Dried resin is an excellent fire starter.

Resin from one tree

My grandson and I compared it to cotton balls rolled in vaseline.  A piece half the size of a cotton ball will burn 3 or 4 times as long.  If you watch the trees for damaged areas, you will have no problem finding resin.  I scrape or pop pieces of dried resin off with my pocketknife.  I put the resin in a plastic bag take it home and fill 35 mm film cans to put in my bug out bags.

The resin will light when wet or dry, just smash the piece to break it up so you get some powder and you can even start it with a sparking device.  Put your dry tinder on and you have a good start on a fire.

Another way of getting resin is in a liquid form.  Find a Douglas fir and look for the little blisters that form on the bark.  Poke a hole in these blisters and sap will run out.  Collect this on a piece of wood and it will readily ignite.

Lit resin

A piece of resin half the size of a cotton ball ready to ignite

If you have downed rotten logs break them open and find the knots, these are often heavily impregnated with resin and will burn even when wet.  This is something you need to practice don’t wait until you life depends on it.


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