When might I need a fire, you may ask? The answer is: You bloody never know.
Now, in the bushcraft world there’s always a fervour for birchbark (it contains oils) and cramp balls (those black nodules of fungi, growing on dead Ash) and they’re good for propagating a fire from the slightest spark, but I reckon this stuff is just as good – It’s called Fireweed (colloquially) or Rosebay Willowherb – you would’ve seen swathes of tall plants with pink flowers growing on roadside verges whilst on your summer drives. It’s abundant, easy to gather, and takes a spark. The stems can then be used to extended the flame. You can find it in most habitats, where there’s an open space. I grab it below the seed heads. Lightly press my thumbnail into the stem and strip off the top. Just keep your thumbnail pointing downwards to avoid any ouchy splinter action.
Having seen many a fella struggling to get a BBQ going on the beach, when might I need a fire, you may ask?
Now, this is it at its winter stage. Come spring/summer it has another use altogether. Keep watching!