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How To Make Fire From Ice



Campfire burns in the snow in the forest hill, campfire burning in cold winter | How To Make Fire From Ice | featured - ss

Knowing how to make fire from ice is a vital survival skill that can save you from freezing and can come in handy when having fun outdoors during winter.

Here is how to to do it.

RELATED: 10 Best Winter Camping Gear To Keep You Warm On Your Adventures

How to Make Fire From Ice in Four Simple Steps

1. Get Clear Ice

Hand holding a beautiful clear chunk of ice | How To Make Fire From Ice

Getting clear ice is almost as challenging as curving it out. However, it shouldn’t be hard to find yourself a block of clear ice from a frozen pond or lake on a typical winter day.

On the other hand, you can make your own homemade clear ice for practice at home. Here’s how:

  • First, boil a small amount of water for roughly five minutes and allow it cool.
  • Now, boil the water again for another five minutes and allow it to expel any gas.
  • Once the water has cooled completely, pour it into a two-inch foil container and  slow freeze.
  • The handmade foil container is for shape purposes. Therefore, you can use any other lens-shaped container you have.

Tip: Ensure the diameter of the ice does not go below six inches – the larger the sphere, the more the heat.

2. Shape the Ice Into a Lens

Cutting ice with a special big sharp knife | making fire with ice mythbusters

The next step is curving out the ice block you have into a perfect spherical lens. To do this, attach a piece of wood at the end of your pocket knife to make a draw-knife.

Next, carve out a log such that it has a notch between “two ears” for you to place your ice block. Now add a nail on each side of the gap, and use same-length strings to tie either ends of the draw-knife to the nails on each end.

By doing this, you will have determined the radius of the ice lens since each push and pull will shave the ice block equally. Once done with one side, overturn the ice block and continue shaving.

Since the ice level will likely be lower than the draw-knife can reach, you will need to place the ice on something to raise it. This will ensure an equal radius on each side of the sphere.

Alternatively, you can shape the ice by freehand without first carving out a log to hold it. However, this will be more effective if you are not dealing with a large block of ice. Also, hand curving your block of ice might not leave you with a perfect sphere.

Tip: You can also thin out your ice block’s edges by rubbing it on a stone to form a spherical lens if you do not have a knife.

 3. Smoothen Your Ice Lens

Bartender cutting ice with a knife| Fire from ice the edge

After curving out the ice block with a knife, you will end up with a lens-like-sphere that will have rough edges, ridges, and other uneven sections. Smoothen out these imperfections using the warmth of your hands.

To fasten this process, try hugging the ice in your palms for a few seconds, examine it and repeat this until you have a perfectly evened out surface. Remember, only to hold the ice for two to three seconds to avoid over melting it.

4. Focus the Brightest Sun Spot on Your Tinder

Frosty day exotic wintry scene | how to make a fire

To easily make a fire, you will need to use the driest tinder you can find. Also, begin with the smallest pieces and progress to bigger wood chunks as the fire grows.

Now, when the sun is at its hottest, hold the ice lens perpendicularly to it and focus the reflected hot ray on your tinder. However, you will need to move the lens up and down until you have the brightest and hottest ray onto your tinder.

After a short time, you will notice that the tinder will start to smoke, and after focusing the ray on the same position for some time, the tinder will ignite. Cautiously add more small pieces of tinder like small sticks until you establish an intense fire.


  • Be careful how you hold the lens to avoid dripping water on the tinder as wet tinder will not burn.
  • To work, you have to keep a steady hand and focus the ray on only one spot.
  • How fast it will take to make a fire will depend on the heat of sun, the quality of your ice lens, and how dry your tinder will be.

Watch this video from WIRED on how to start a fire in a survival situation:

As you can see, you do not need much to make yourself a fire from ice – a knife, clear ice, and tinder are enough. The critical thing is to get the most transparent ice you can find and carve it into a lens. Remember that sometimes carving may mean cutting out a cloudy ice section from a clear one.

Have you made fires using ice before? What other tips do you have for beginners in this survival skill? Let us know in the comment section below!  

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