They didn’t teach you this in Scouts or Guides: how to use a piece of ice to start a fire. Tim Jones, a survivalist from Oklahoma, offers an inventive way to start a fire using a smooth block of ice, the sun and a dry patch of grass.
If you need fire and you’re lost in the woods, just find a piece of ice that can be polished smooth and used like a magnifying glass to catch a ray of sunlight and spark a flame. Think of the old trick of using a magnifying glass to burn ants, only this application could possibly save your life (or at least help warm you up).
Jones, who describes himself as a survival teacher and outdoorsman from Kingfisher, Okla., regularly makes and posts videos that demonstrate wilderness skills. His most recent video showed viewers how to make deer jerky the old-fashioned way.
Other videos on his YouTube channel include lessons on how to purify creek water, forage for food, make a fish trap and sharpen a machete while in the wild.
The most popular video is his January 2010 tutorial on making fire from ice, which has garnered 1.3 million hits on YouTube and recently got a lift when it was featured on Discovery News and Internet trends website BuzzFeed.com.
In the three-minute video, Jones discusses the need to look for “crystal-clear” ice free from dirt or other obscuring elements. The survivalist uses a metal tool and his bare hands to cut out an egg-shaped chunk, which he then hand-polishes until it melts into a sparkling, sun-catching frozen orb that is a mite larger and thicker than his hand.
Jones perches the icy magnifying glass between two logs so that it picks up and focuses rays of sunlight onto a spot on the ground where he’s placed some tinder. Almost immediately there is a whoosh and a burst of flames, which die down to a small but steady fire.
Jones says you don’t need tinder to help kick-start the flame, although it certainly helps. What is required is the aforementioned clear ice, a sunny day and dry grass.
Oh yes, and warm hands.