Dyatlov Pass Forum

Theories Discussion => General Discussion => Topic started by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 01:40:09 PM

Title: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 01:40:09 PM
I have done a lot of sitting around a fire in the snow, after skiing, tobogganing, snow machining and it isn't easy to start a fire in the middle of the night with just matches? lighter?

According to the script, they left the tent in such a hurry that they didn't get dressed. But they managed to get their hands on sharp knives to both cut the tent and cut wood and grab matches (or a lighter)

Green wood does not burn, they had to find dry wood in the dark and snow and get it lit, not an easy task without an accelerant.

Any thoughts on how they did it?
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Nigel Evans on February 26, 2021, 01:55:07 PM
The rescuers commented that there were a lot of spent matches around the campfire so doesn't sound like they found it an easy task.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 01:58:18 PM
when we light a winter fire, we use a lot of accelerant. Green wood doesn't burn, wet wood doesn't burn. The only way to tell the difference on cedar is to snap the branches, if it breaks it will burn. So in the middle of the night, with frozen hands they not only managed to light matches, which isn't easy with cold hands, but also find wood. I just find that very strange
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Manti on February 26, 2021, 02:13:11 PM
I think they had matches on them at all times (in pockets) as a precaution. Same with knives.

And "middle of the night" is just an assumption. I am beginning to question more of the widely accepted "facts" about the case and timing is one of these. The whole thing might have happened before sunset or in the morning. Of course there are the flashlights that were found which does hint at them venturing out at night.

But I absolutely agree it must have been a very difficult task, also because if the fire is successful the snow below/around melts, and the rest of the firewood is now sitting in a puddle so the fire on its own would kind of put itself out.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 03:08:59 PM
no, it doesn't put itself out if it is kept going, the heat of the fire evaporates the water. Making smores is a big thing here in the winter
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on February 26, 2021, 05:00:19 PM
when we light a winter fire, we use a lot of accelerant. Green wood doesn't burn, wet wood doesn't burn. The only way to tell the difference on cedar is to snap the branches, if it breaks it will burn. So in the middle of the night, with frozen hands they not only managed to light matches, which isn't easy with cold hands, but also find wood. I just find that very strange

Very Strange ! ?  Their hands showed signs of Frostbite etc. The Fire was probably alight for at least an hour. At least one of the Dyatlov Group had climbed the Cedar Tree.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 05:03:50 PM
Yes, it is very strange. which is why I think it was faked. When the facts don't match the scene, one or the other is wrong. There was a fire, that seems to be a fact, so my conclusion is they didn't start it. I am open to idea on how it got started but having done winter camping, it isn't as easy as lighting one in the summer, in the daytime, with accelerant
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Manti on February 26, 2021, 05:15:01 PM
I have never used "accelerant" but yes if the wood is living or wet, it's almost impossible to ignite. Wax from a candle can help but they didn't have candles. They had newspaper though which might help at the start, but still, must have been very hard. I don't think it would have been impossible because they managed to start fires on previous evenings as well.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 26, 2021, 05:16:57 PM
Yes, but those fires were planned, I'm sure they had kindling with them, newspaper etc and some dry wood to catch once it was lit. Making a fire under those circumstances isn't as hard, but the accelerant helps (and is fun)
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Nigel Evans on February 27, 2021, 10:50:25 AM
Yes, it is very strange. which is why I think it was faked. When the facts don't match the scene, one or the other is wrong. There was a fire, that seems to be a fact, so my conclusion is they didn't start it. I am open to idea on how it got started but having done winter camping, it isn't as easy as lighting one in the summer, in the daytime, with accelerant


According to my googling North American cedar isn't actually cedar at all but of the Cypress family. Proper cedar is Mediterranean only don't know about North Asian cedar. If anyone could light a fire it would be Semyon.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 27, 2021, 12:48:15 PM
I am not sure he could start a fire in those conditions so I am trying to see how it could be done. Saying he could do it isn't saying how he did it or if he did it, it is merely repeating the evidence that someone at sometime lit the fire.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on February 27, 2021, 01:00:28 PM
Yes, it is very strange. which is why I think it was faked. When the facts don't match the scene, one or the other is wrong. There was a fire, that seems to be a fact, so my conclusion is they didn't start it. I am open to idea on how it got started but having done winter camping, it isn't as easy as lighting one in the summer, in the daytime, with accelerant

Any one with outdoor skills like the Dyatlov Group had would be able to light a Fire. It may take a few matches to do so.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on February 27, 2021, 01:14:16 PM
I give up, obviously saying they could do it explains how they were able to to everyone but me.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Nigel Evans on February 27, 2021, 01:32:28 PM
You've got to find dead branches that haven't landed on the ground but have landed on branches below and air dried? That and a knife gives you shavings and small kindling. Plus we don't know they didn't have paper?
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Manti on February 27, 2021, 05:22:50 PM
We know they had paper with them eg. Semyon's newspaper and notebook, we don't know if they used it but I would guess so.


Also why only dead branches that didn't land on the ground? I would expect there to be some dead branches on top or at least poking out of snow as well. The area would have snow cover since October or November.

But is the remains of a fire even visible on any of the photographs? The Yuris are said to have been found near the fire but it's not in the photos... was it found under snow and not properly photographed? Is it just a rumour?
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Nigel Evans on February 28, 2021, 01:55:11 AM
The driest dead branches will be hanging in the air.
This is your fire after more snowfall :-


 (https://i.ibb.co/QF3Jvdm/Dyatlov-pass-cedar-tree-01.jpg) (https://ibb.co/xSt2qH5)
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on March 03, 2021, 12:50:58 PM
I was talking to an old trapper about this case and he said that back then he, they, used much larger matches, we call them fireplace matches now. and they could strike off almost anything and were really big so not only would frozen hands be able to use them (if that is what they had) but the matches are also big enough to be used as kindling
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on March 03, 2021, 02:52:48 PM
I was talking to an old trapper about this case and he said that back then he, they, used much larger matches, we call them fireplace matches now. and they could strike off almost anything and were really big so not only would frozen hands be able to use them (if that is what they had) but the matches are also big enough to be used as kindling

Good point. Any photos of Russian matches from 1959  ! ? Presumably they were made in Russia ! ?
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on March 03, 2021, 03:21:24 PM
I am not sure of the rules here for posting from etsy etc but if you goggle 1959 sulphur matches russia it shows the old wooden matches. Not as long as the fireplace ones but certainly thicker and stronger than the matchbook type.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on March 03, 2021, 04:34:27 PM

Russia was manufactoring Matches in the 19th century and the Soviet Union expanded production. Matches were made for all eventualities. There were even Hunting Matches and Survival Matches designed for extreme climates like Siberia.

https://soviet-art.ru/ussr-matchbox-labels/
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: KFinn on March 03, 2021, 05:16:19 PM

Russia was manufactoring Matches in the 19th century and the Soviet Union expanded production. Matches were made for all eventualities. There were even Hunting Matches and Survival Matches designed for extreme climates like Siberia.

https://soviet-art.ru/ussr-matchbox-labels/

Now that my made cold geeky heart very warm and fuzzy.  That's really neat!!! 
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on March 03, 2021, 05:54:36 PM

Russia was manufactoring Matches in the 19th century and the Soviet Union expanded production. Matches were made for all eventualities. There were even Hunting Matches and Survival Matches designed for extreme climates like Siberia.

https://soviet-art.ru/ussr-matchbox-labels/

Those boxes were so pretty and useful. I had totally forgotten about boxed matches. good memory for about 2 seconds
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: KFinn on March 04, 2021, 01:39:02 PM
I'm not certain how relevant this is regarding the actual fire start, as they are using the strike method and they do have char clothe.  However, they are also gathering tinder and firewood from trees round them.  Its obviously not nearly as cold as what the Dyatlov group probably encountered; these guys are not wearing mittens and are hiking in leather ankle boots, winningas and probably naalbind or wool felt socks.  This is not our crew but was recently posted in the Viking Hiking group I'm associated with.  The beginning is a wee bit dry as they are walking for a while, lol.  But one thing I have wondered about; there were remnants of clothing and socks around the fire at the cedar.  I wonder if they used some of the fabric from their clothes as part of trying to get it to catch.  Anyhoo, I don't know if it will add anything valuable to the discussion or not but having this thread in the forefront of my mind when I saw the link posted, I thought I'd share. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=loURd-NLfvw&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on March 04, 2021, 05:47:04 PM
I'm not certain how relevant this is regarding the actual fire start, as they are using the strike method and they do have char clothe.  However, they are also gathering tinder and firewood from trees round them.  Its obviously not nearly as cold as what the Dyatlov group probably encountered; these guys are not wearing mittens and are hiking in leather ankle boots, winningas and probably naalbind or wool felt socks.  This is not our crew but was recently posted in the Viking Hiking group I'm associated with.  The beginning is a wee bit dry as they are walking for a while, lol.  But one thing I have wondered about; there were remnants of clothing and socks around the fire at the cedar.  I wonder if they used some of the fabric from their clothes as part of trying to get it to catch.  Anyhoo, I don't know if it will add anything valuable to the discussion or not but having this thread in the forefront of my mind when I saw the link posted, I thought I'd share. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=loURd-NLfvw&feature=youtu.be

Very interesting. What strikes me most is the fact that they are getting all the wood that they need from near ground level. Dyatlov Group members climbed a Tree and injured themselves in the process.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: KFinn on March 04, 2021, 05:54:04 PM
I'm not certain how relevant this is regarding the actual fire start, as they are using the strike method and they do have char clothe.  However, they are also gathering tinder and firewood from trees round them.  Its obviously not nearly as cold as what the Dyatlov group probably encountered; these guys are not wearing mittens and are hiking in leather ankle boots, winningas and probably naalbind or wool felt socks.  This is not our crew but was recently posted in the Viking Hiking group I'm associated with.  The beginning is a wee bit dry as they are walking for a while, lol.  But one thing I have wondered about; there were remnants of clothing and socks around the fire at the cedar.  I wonder if they used some of the fabric from their clothes as part of trying to get it to catch.  Anyhoo, I don't know if it will add anything valuable to the discussion or not but having this thread in the forefront of my mind when I saw the link posted, I thought I'd share. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=loURd-NLfvw&feature=youtu.be

Very interesting. What strikes me most is the fact that they are getting all the wood that they need from near ground level. Dyatlov Group members climbed a Tree and injured themselves in the process.

It does lead one back to that question, if climbing the tree was motivated by the need for wood or for another purpose.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: ash73 on March 04, 2021, 06:53:52 PM
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.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: KFinn on March 04, 2021, 06:59:42 PM
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.

And they were doing this with hands that were quite possibly less coordinated from frostbite and/or cold.  That definitely can complicate things when your hands are not as agile and nimble as normal. 
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: tenne on March 05, 2021, 05:42:59 AM
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.

That is possible but I would think if you have the presence of mind to grab wood, they would grab shoes and clothes
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: ash73 on March 05, 2021, 06:04:48 AM
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.

That is possible but I would think if you have the presence of mind to grab wood, they would grab shoes and clothes

Maybe the logs were stored outside the tent, so they could grab them... whereas something was preventing them taking clothes from inside.

Just a random idea I had, based on them needing lots more wood the next few days.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on March 05, 2021, 11:36:51 AM
I'm not certain how relevant this is regarding the actual fire start, as they are using the strike method and they do have char clothe.  However, they are also gathering tinder and firewood from trees round them.  Its obviously not nearly as cold as what the Dyatlov group probably encountered; these guys are not wearing mittens and are hiking in leather ankle boots, winningas and probably naalbind or wool felt socks.  This is not our crew but was recently posted in the Viking Hiking group I'm associated with.  The beginning is a wee bit dry as they are walking for a while, lol.  But one thing I have wondered about; there were remnants of clothing and socks around the fire at the cedar.  I wonder if they used some of the fabric from their clothes as part of trying to get it to catch.  Anyhoo, I don't know if it will add anything valuable to the discussion or not but having this thread in the forefront of my mind when I saw the link posted, I thought I'd share. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=loURd-NLfvw&feature=youtu.be

Very interesting. What strikes me most is the fact that they are getting all the wood that they need from near ground level. Dyatlov Group members climbed a Tree and injured themselves in the process.

It does lead one back to that question, if climbing the tree was motivated by the need for wood or for another purpose.

Well somewhere in this Forum I have said what I think probably made them climb the Cedar Tree. They climbed because they were probably getting away from something or were scared of something.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: sarapuk on March 05, 2021, 11:39:20 AM
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.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: eurocentric on April 20, 2021, 08:23:59 AM
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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlnOY7umKLY

Longer video showing a fire being made this way:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pzN9-LK9Y
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Zyd on April 20, 2021, 01:40:08 PM
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).
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Paf on April 20, 2021, 01:50:51 PM
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).
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Horsebite on April 20, 2021, 02:37:26 PM
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.   
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: EBE on May 18, 2021, 03:41:35 AM
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.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: EBE on May 19, 2021, 01:11:40 AM
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..
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Manti on May 22, 2021, 02:46:46 PM
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?
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: EBE on May 26, 2021, 07:04:52 AM
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:

https://www.vbox7.com/play:9da88828ce

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:).
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: Manti on May 31, 2021, 05:11:28 PM
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.
Title: Re: how did they start the fire
Post by: EBE on June 01, 2021, 12:51:50 AM
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.