Wet Wood Fire

30 Oct


Last weekend, Amica and I traveled to a friend’s hunting camp in Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest. During the day, I took him and his dog to a little winery I love: Elk Mountain Winery. We ordered our tasting and chose to sit outside by “the fire.”


There was no fire, just an employee piling chunks of wet wood into a fire pit. We promptly commandeered her lighter, and she went inside to get us cardboard.

Their firewood stash had sat out, uncovered, during the previous night’s rain. It was all soaked through. There was no kindling. No lighter fluid. I joked about siphoning gasoline from my car. We just had cardboard, so we got some of that lit.


I didn’t think it was possible to get wet wood to burn, but I gave it a solid effort anyway. There wasn’t anything else to do, and I love to have an activity while I sip my wine.

There were a few moments the wood kind of caught fire; then it died out. Plenty of smoke.

Then there was a little flame. A mighty little flame in one of the wet chunks of wood. I knelt beside it and puffed like the Big Bad Wolf and my little flame got bigger. Other chunks caught fire.

It took about an hour, but we got an actual fire started out of that wet wood in the fire pit. We left our smokey little flames to new arrivals who were thrilled to see there was a fire going, having no idea how hard it was to make and that it was just us guests who got it going.

I said to my friend Steve, “The next time I think something’s impossible, I’m going to remember our wet wood fire.”


Here’s another inspirational story about possible impossible:

What’s with the Bison, Christina?



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