Andrew shows you how to light a fire in harsh weather conditions using the bark from a Birch tree. He also gives top tips on using other items to get that fire going.

Birch bark was a valuable construction material in any part of the world where birch trees were available. Containers like wrappings, bags, baskets, boxes, or quivers were made by most societies well before pottery was invented. Other uses include:

* In North America, the native population used birch bark for canoes, wigwams, scrolls, ritual art (birch bark biting), maps (including the oldest maps of North America[citation needed]), torches, fans, musical instruments, clothing, and more.
* In Scandinavia and Finland, it was used as the substratum of sod roofs, for making boxes, casks and buckets, fishing implements, and shoes.
* In Russia, many birch bark documents have survived from the Middle Ages.
* In the Indian civilisation birch-bark, along with dried palm leaves, replaced parchment as the primary writing medium. The oldest known Buddhist manuscripts, from Afghanistan, were written on birch bark

Birch bark also makes an outstanding tinder, as the inner layers will stay dry even through heavy rainstorms. To render birch bark useless as tinder, it must be soaked for an extended period.

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