I designed and built the fireshield in order to reduce my weight for the 23 kilometre hike in getting to the Hubbard Rock in 2003.† This allowed me to cook in a normal fashion without having to carry naphtha and a stove.† I have used it ever since, as in addition to reducing my weight, it greatly simplifies building fires and reduces the danger of causing a forest fire.† Much of the ground cover in the north is peat or caribou moss which are highly flammable.
The fireshield only weighs about 2 pounds (700 grams) and folds flat.
The fireshield can be erected in seconds by unfolding it, inserting the rods through the holes in the fireshield and inserting the safety wires attached to the shield through the hole drilled at the end of each rod.
The fireshield can be set on boulders, greatly eliminating the chance of causing a fire.
The following pictures will show how I make a fire in the fireshield.† If there is a wind, I first build the fire with the open end of the fireshield facing away from the wind.† Once the fire is going, I turn the open end of the fireshield towards the wind.† The draft makes the wood burn much better and is great when the wood is damp.
I start the fire with birch bark or a firestarter.
I next get small twigs going (the twigs and black fuzz at the base of the black spruce found up north is the best).
I then put a pot in place with the water Iím going to heat and then add more twigs.† The pot tends to force the flame back down and helps get the fire going, especially if the wood is damp.
I then add larger dead branches and then turn the fireshield and pot so that the open end is facing the wind.
Fireshield set up on a boulder.
I keep the fireshield and nesting set of pots in a nylon bag.† I set the bag on the plastic barrel containing my food.† On a long trip the food is too heavy to be hung, so I set the barrel with the nylon bag on top of it, just outside my tent so that I can see it when I open my tent flap.† I set it up this way so that if I were to have a visit by a bear in the night, the noise of my nesting pots and fireshield falling off the barrel would wake me and I would have the option of using my shotgun if needs be.† A bear in fact did investigate my food barrel on my first night out in 2004, but the next night I put the nylon bag on top of it and since that time, Iíve never had another visit.† My theory is that the strong smell of wood smoke on my pots and fireshield deters them.