If there's anyone who fully understands the difficulty of surviving extreme cold weather, it's the residents of Siberia. This region of northern Russia is notorious around the world for its frigid sub-zero temperatures, and has served as a location for high-security prisons and Gulag forced labor camps due to its inescapable expanses of ice and snow. Even in parts of Russia with milder weather, the inhospitable conditions have contributed to the failure of multiple foreign invasions (including those of Napoleon and Hitler).
As a result of this hardship, Russians have come up with some pretty clever winter survival resources, from dugout shelters to off-road vehicles. We recently learned about another Russian survival technique known as the “Siberian log fire”. This structure uses one very large log and 5 to 7 smaller logs to create a fire that can burn all night with minimal tending or stoking.
In the following video from Far North Bushcraft and Survival, host Lonnie shows how he builds a Siberian log fire in an Alaskan forest. A large folding saw is used to cut down one thick tree trunk and five thinner trunks — a large woodsman's axe could be used instead, if no saw is available. These logs are stacked atop the largest log in a fanned-out shape, with the ends protruding slightly and almost touching each other.
The Siberian log fire is built on the ground beside the large log, and burns upward to ignite the ends of the others. Maintaining the fire then becomes as simple as adjusting the gaps and feeding the logs forward as they burn. Check out the full video below to see it in action and learn more about its construction.