How To Use A Magnesium Fire Starter

magnesium fire starter
June 10, 2023

When it comes to surviving in the wilderness, whether you are just camping or are stranded, an emergency magnesium fire starter can really come in handy. These emergency fire starters are basically rectangular magnesium blocks and since magnesium tends to be highly flammable, a fire can be started by taking advantage of this property of the element.

Since pieces of magnesium have to be shaved off from the block, usually these fire starters contain a built-in blade or knife. The block also has flint on one side that is used to generate sparks in order to ignite the magnesium shavings.

However, if you have never used a magnesium fire starter before, you may face some difficulty in using it effectively and safely the very first time, so keep reading.

How To Prepare The Fire?

    1. Before you can start a fire, kindling and tinder (no, not the app) will be required. Items that can be used for this purpose include dead branches, dry bark or grass, paper, and twigs.
    2. Choose a designated spot where the fire will be started and that is where the tinder should be placed. Keep in mind that you will be creating sparks using your emergency fire starter and those sparks will ignite this pile of tinder.
    3. Using the blade or knife that is included with your emergency fire starter, scrape off some magnesium onto the pile of tinder by holding the block tilted at an angle. Without these magnesium shavings, you will not be able to ignite the pile of kindling and tinder. If your fire starter does not have a built-in blade or knife, which is rare, you can use just about any blade or knife that you might be carrying with you.
    4. Make sure that the small shavings of magnesium are falling directly onto the pile of kindling and timber below. Shave an amount of magnesium that would equal the size of a standard coin.

How To Start The Fire?

    1. As mentioned, every emergency fire starter has a flint portion.
    2. Again, hold your fire starter at an angle, with the flint side towards you. Create sparks by forcefully dragging or sliding your blade or knife across the flint.
    3. Keep the flint with your blade or knife until you manage to create sparks that light up the magnesium and proceed to ignite a fire.
      Once the fire has ignited, you will have to maintain it in order to ensure that it keeps burning steadily.
    4. As soon as the magnesium shavings have ignited, blow on them gently so that the flames of the fire may spread throughout the pile of kindling and timber.
    5. To fuel the fire and ensure that it keeps on burning steadily, some additional kindling and tinder should be placed on top.


    • Before you actually find yourself in a situation where your survival will depend on the use of your emergency fire starter, you should practice using it in your backyard or any outdoor location.
    • While it may make sense to slide the blade or knife against the flint towards the pile of kindling and tinder, you should do the opposite, i.e. slide the blade or knife towards yourself. This way, the sparks created will ignite the magnesium quicker.

Keep all of the above in mind and practice. Hopefully, if you ever find yourself in dire need of starting a fire, you should face no trouble effectively and safely using your emergency magnesium fire starter.

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