starting a fire

How to Start a Fire

I have been watching Man Vs Wild in Discovery channel, but Bear Grylls never showed us this fire starting trick that demo in Mari-Mari Cultural Village. I was so impressed to see a fire can be started in less than 1 minute just by using bamboo.

Material preparation

When you are lost in a jungle and don’t bring any matches along with you, this skill may save your life. All you need is a dry bamboo (don’t use the green one). Make a husk (left picture above) by peeling off some bamboo skin, as thin as possible so it is easier to catch fire. Choose a bamboo about 2 feet long and 1.5 inch in diameter. Cut it vertically into half. Cut a long horizontal hole (right picture above) on one of them and put some husk under the bamboo until it touches the hole.

Rub bamboo

Next, mark a line crossing the hole as a rubbing spot. Then use outer side of another bamboo to rub that spot hard and continuously back and forth. They say you need practice to learn to do it properly. If your technique is correct, the friction will heat up the rubbing spot and burn the husk under the hole within a minute (The fire won’t start without air entering from the hole).

Fire start

Tour package to Semporna

When you see the fire, blow it gently and add more husk on it to start the fire.

Add husk

Bamboo is readily available, so you can even get some bamboo and try it at home. It won’t be as easy as it looks, but it works. Just be careful not to burn your house. The info here is only for educational purpose, so I will not responsible for any accident and damage caused by this exercise.

Blow air

Playing with fire was my favourite childhood activity (gene inherited from my mom, who also burnt her house). I even attempted to drill a wood with a branch, hoping that I could start a fire without using lighter and matches. Well, I always failed after hour of trying.


Anyway, it is fun to know this. I haven’t tried it yet. Hope the instructions are clear enough. Please let me know if you succeed. The fire made me smelly b’coz of the smoke.

fire starting

tourists looking at fire starting

The fire starting demonstration in Mari-Mari Cultural Village always amuses the tourists. To them, it’s more like a magic show.

Photos taken in Inanam, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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