In many survival situations, the ability to start a fire can make the difference between living and dying. Fire can fulfill many needs. It can provide warmth and comfort. It not only cooks and preserves food, it also provides warmth in the form of heated food that saves calories our body normally uses to produce body heat. You can use fire to purify water, sterilize bandages, signal for rescue and provide protection from animals. It can be a psychological boost by providing peace of mind and companionship. You can also use fire to produce tools and weapons.
Fire can cause problems, as well. An enemy can detect the smoke and light it produces; remember, weigh your need for fire against your need to avoid enemy detection. Fire can also destroy essential equipment or cause forest fires. It can also cause burns and carbon monoxide poisoning when used in shelters.
Information courtesy of the U.S. Army Survival Manual