January 25, 2022, 12:08:14 AM
Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: how did they start the fire  (Read 2898 times)

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March 05, 2021, 11:39:20 AM
Reply #30


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Bear in mind they were starting a fire in the dead of night, no Moon, no lantern. They could be surrounded by dry firewood and wouldn't see it.

I guess once they started a fire they could create torches, but until then it would be pitch black.

They might have carried a bundle of wood from the tent to the cedar, it doesn't make any sense for there to be none up there.

I doubt it would have been pitch black. The Snow would have provided a backcloth of potential refected Light, even with a cloudy Sky.

April 20, 2021, 08:23:59 AM
Reply #31


It would be very difficult with matches in the strong winds, and with only damp kindling available. Spent matches were found but these would obviously burn for only a short time and the gusting wind could blow them out.

The inventory lists 5 Brichete firelighters, which is a pocket-sized windproof device with a rope wick. A Rope Lighter, sometimes called Ship or Trench lighters. Unlike matches these will smoulder, performing better in the oxygen of the wind.

These were part of the repair kit, which Rustem was in charge of.
Sheet 205  https://dyatlovpass.com/case-files-199-208?rbid=17743

I'm wondering if the pathologist didn't know what this device was and thought it a knife with a string attached, because it does look vaguely like a penknife or some kind of cutting tool on a string. Rustem's autopsy includes "In the pockets are a pack of matches with 48 match sticks, a pocket knife on a long string, a comb in a case, two pieces of string, a pencil, and a cotton sock."

Most references I could find to these include a cotton storage pouch, and I'm wondering if this, or a mistranslation, also explains the 'cotton sock'.

Youtube video:

Longer video showing a fire being made this way:

« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 11:17:45 AM by eurocentric »

April 20, 2021, 01:40:08 PM
Reply #32


They started fire with matches and evidence shows it took them a lot of matches to get it burning. The fire would have provided very little warmnth due to wind and was likely not burnjng largelt. This part of the reason the bodies were burnt, people had to get extremely close to feel any benefit (and their limbs may have been numb as well).

April 20, 2021, 01:50:51 PM
Reply #33


Birtch bark ?

They could have gather some very easy, and it's burning like hell -like paper or cardboard depending on the thickness.
The wind gave them hard time, but for material they had everything they needed to succeed (and 2 of them had spare matches in their pocket at the end).

April 20, 2021, 02:37:26 PM
Reply #34


Totally agree on the birch bark.  It will burn in nearly any condition and it appears there were plenty of birch trees nearby.  I've used it on a number of occasions to start fires in winter without anything other than matches.  Of course, that was usually during the day without strong wind, so not a direct comparison.  However, if there was bark handy, it should have been all they needed.   

May 18, 2021, 03:41:35 AM
Reply #35


To me, the fire is one of the strangest details of the incident. It was the only thing they could have saved them. I absolutely agree with the birch bark, also birch wood is ideal as it burns even if wet. Green cedar and spruce branches are good as well, because the green needles contain resin and burn really well (but quickly). Also, based on Grigoriev's diary, there was a lot of dangling moss/lichen growing on cedar (and probably on other trees too), which is ideal for starting a fire as it burns exceptionally well.

What is difficult to understand is that the fire was not right next to the cedar tree trunk which would protect if from wind (if the wind was strong there). There was enough people for maintaining the fire, collecting the firewood and protecting the fire from wind. They had all means to make a really big fire, but they did not do it.. Something is missing here. Maybe they were not collaborating, arguing among themselves about what to do, or there is also a possibility that the group was split on the slope and both Juris were the only ones making the fire.

May 19, 2021, 01:11:40 AM
Reply #36


There is also one more possibility - it was just a standard fire and not an emergency one. This creates a room for more possibilities and speculations - it seems that the tent was originally near the cedar and not on the slope, or the fire was made by other people (attackers). The more I think of it, the more plausible it looks to me..

May 22, 2021, 02:46:46 PM
Reply #37


But then how did some of them burn their legs, head etc? Or did that happen on previous days? Then why is it not mentioned in any diary?

May 26, 2021, 07:04:52 AM
Reply #38


That is a difficult question.

If the fire was a standard one, not an emergency one, the burned legs and hand can be explained by a violence from other members of the group or from some other people. The violence theory is explained by forensic expert Eduard Tumanov - from 17. minute of this video:


But there can be another explanations. The fire was in fact an emergency one, but the group was divided and the people who started the fire (two Juris) were not able to maintain it - there was wind, maybe they were not really used to make fire in such unfavorable conditions, etc..

Also, the "observation window" in the cedar: the branches were not cut, but broken (and they were quite thick). This also indicates some kind of emergency situation. As with most facts in the DPI, the evidence here is contradicting:).

May 31, 2021, 05:11:28 PM
Reply #39


One more thing about the fire that's inexplicable to me.. it was under a tree. If it actually worked and turned into a decently sized campfire, there is a risk it would set the tree on fire. And you don't want to be under a burning tree... you also don't want your only source of warmth to be under it.

June 01, 2021, 12:51:50 AM
Reply #40


One more thing about the fire that's inexplicable to me.. it was under a tree. If it actually worked and turned into a decently sized campfire, there is a risk it would set the tree on fire. And you don't want to be under a burning tree... you also don't want your only source of warmth to be under it.

My opinion is different: if I would be in emergency situation with strong wind and low temperatures, I would place the fire right next to the tree trunk, so that it is protected from the wind. Even setting the whole tree on fire would be OK, as it would provide enough heat for some time which would save their lives, and there was still a lot of firewood around (birches, small firs etc.). 

Also, from looking at the photos of the fire, it seems to me that there were no remains of cedar branches around. When you put green cedar branches to the fire, they burn well (too quickly), but what remains is the small unburnt twigs - they are usually scattered around the fire. This was not visible on any of the photos. This is another reason to believe that the fire under the cedar was not lit in emergency.