The Long Dark Wiki

Fire Starting

Fire Starting is a survival skill that is used to start fires.

Fires generate heat to restore and conserve warmth. Players can cook food, melt snow, and purify water on any fire started through the fire starting skill.

How to start a fire[]

Fire starting is known as one of the easiest skills to train in The Long Dark, as players can increase their skill by lighting a new fire at any time during their playthrough.

To start a fire, players have to "use" an existing firebox or fire or place a new campfire in an acceptable location. The player must then select an ignition source, tinder (optional at higher fire starting skill levels), fuel, and an optional accelerant. At the top of the screen, the player's current fire starting skill and the chance of success with the currently selected materials are displayed.

Chance of starting[]

The chance of a fire-starting attempt succeeding is calculated directly by adding the benefits of the character's skill and all materials being used in the attempt. Changing the materials can improve the chance of a successful start. Chances greater than 100% are rounded down to 100% and cannot fail.

Attempting to start[]

Activating the start button on the bottom right will launch an attempt. A progress wheel will fill as the player character attempts to get the fire started. Normal attempts take 6 in-game minutes to achieve success. Attempts that include an accelerant take only 1 in-game minute. It is also possible to be interrupted in an attempt by aggressive wildlife. Interrupted attempts count as a failure.

Failing to start[]

Failure, if it does occur by chance, will consume a random amount of time before canceling the progress bar and returning to the start page. Failing a starting chance consumes the tinder and any liquid used, but does not consume the fuel. Matches are consumed as ignition sources but torches and flares are not. Firestrikers suffer condition loss on every attempt, while a magnifying lens does not.


Players need one starter, one tinder, and one fuel before they can start fire starting. Player can start fires without a tinder after achieving level 3 in their fire starting skill.


Players can select any starter currently carried in their inventory. They are sequenced alphabetically and further sorted by condition, highest to lowest. The condition of the starter does not affect the chance of success.

Image Ignition Source Benefit Additional Info
Cardboard Matches icon.png Cardboard Matches +0% chance Consumed in attempt
Flare icon.png Flare (lit) +5% chance Attempt may succeed even if item burns out
Magnifying Lens icon.png Magnifying Lens +5% chance Only effective outdoors with sunny weather [1. 1]
Torch icon.png Torch (lit) +5% chance Attempt may succeed even if item burns out
Wood Matches icon.png Wood Matches +5% chance Consumed in attempt
Firestriker icon.png Firestriker +15% chance 2% condition loss each attempt
  1. Magnifying lens does not require direct exposure to sun. For instance, can be used to start fires in the stove inside fishing huts or underneath thick tree cover as long as the day is at least partly sunny.


Players can select any tinder currently carried in their inventory. They are sequenced alphabetically. Currently, all tinders have equal buffs although their weight may vary. Heavier newsprint and newsprint rolls, as well as stacks of papers, can be broken down into tinder plugs. Player can start fires without a tinder after achieving level 3 in their fire starting skill.

Image Tinder Benefit Weight
Birch Bark icon.png Birch Bark +0% chance 0.05 kg
Cash icon.png Cash +0% chance 0.05 kg
Cat Tail Head icon.png Cat Tail Head +0% chance 0.05 kg
Newsprint icon.png Newsprint +0% chance 0.10 kg
Newsprint Roll icon.png Newsprint Roll +0% chance 0.10 kg
Tinder Plug icon.png Tinder Plug +0% chance 0.05 kg
Stack of Papers icon.png Stack of Papers +0% chance 0.10 kg


Players can select any fuel currently carried in their inventory. They are sequenced alphabetically. Each type of fuel differs in how much burn time it will add to a fire, how easy it is to light, and how much heat it will produce once burning.

Image Fuel Benefit
Reclaimed Wood icon.png Reclaimed Wood -5% chance
Torch icon.png Torch (unlit) -5% chance
Fir Firewood icon.png Fir Firewood +0% chance
Firelog icon.png Firelog +7% chance
Cedar Firewood icon.png Cedar Firewood +15% chance
Stick icon.png Stick +15% chance
Book icon.png Book +35% chance


Players can optionally add any accelerant carried in their inventory. They are sequenced alphabetically. Accelerant increases the likelihood of success and shortens the start time for fire-starting to only one minute.

Image Accelerant Benefit
Accelerant icon.png Accelerant +40% chance
Lantern Fuel icon.png Lantern Fuel +40% chance
Can of Gunpowder icon.png Can of Gunpowder +40% chance

Types of fires[]

When lit a firebox will increase nearby warmth, dry clothing, and most have 2 cooking slots.

Firebox Benefit Additional Use(s)
Campfire Can be placed at the player's discretion

Deters wolves

Fire Barrel Wind proof None
Pot belly stove Wind proof only 1 cooking slot
Wood Stove Wind proof None
Fire Place Wind proof None
Stove Wind proof has 6 cooking slots
Rim Grill Wind proof None
Furnace Wind proof Heats the Forge.
Ammunition Workbench Wind proof Can craft Bullets from Scrap lead.


Players who have unlocked the Fire Master feat are able to activate it to start a new game with a Level 3 Fire-Starting skill.

Image Feat Requirement Effect
Badge feat firemaster.png Fire Master Start 1000 fires Survivors start with a Level 3 Fire Starting skill

Skill levels[]

Players can increase their fire starting skill by starting any fire.

Once players have reached a new skill level, they unlock the effects described in the table below.

Level Skill points Effects Description
1 0
  • 40% chance to start fires
2 20
  • 55% chance to start fires
  • Fires last 10% longer
You're quite good at starting fires now. Your fires start better and last longer.
3 50
  • 65% chance to start fires
  • Fires last 10% longer
  • Can start fires without tinder.
You have well above-average experience in starting fires now. You're becoming very capable.
4 100
  • 75% chance to start fires
  • Fires last 25% longer
  • Can start fires without tinder.
Very few can match your skill. Your fires burn faster and for longer. You have woodsmoke in your veins.
5 200
  • 90% chance to start fires
  • Fires start 50% faster
  • Fires last 50% longer
  • Can start fires without tinder.
You have a spark at your fingertips. Your skills are legendary. You're the fire whisperer.


  • Theoretical knowledge: A limited increase can be obtained from the research book Survive the Outdoors!, which allows players to increase their fire starting by 10 skill points with 5 hours of research.
  • Making fires: Successfully starting a fire provides one skill point to fire starting. It is possible to increase fire starting skill by lighting a torch, then using the torch to start new fires, which allows for many skill points to be gained with a single match.