19-7. During darkness, fire is an effective visual means for signaling. Build three fires in a triangle (the international distress signal) or in a straight line with about 25 meters (83 feet) between the fires. Build them as soon as time and the situation permit and protect them from the elements until you need them. If you are alone, maintaining three fires may be difficult. If so, maintain one signal fire. The hot coal bed left by a fire also may be seen by aerial platforms that are equipped to detect infrared or thermal signatures.
19-8. When constructing signal fires, consider your geographic location. If in a jungle, find a natural clearing or the edge of a stream where you can build fires that the jungle foliage will not hide. You may even have to clear an area. If in a snow-covered area, you may have to clear the ground of snow or make a platform on which to build the fire so that melting snow will not extinguish it.
19-9. A burning tree (tree torch) is another way to attract attention (Figure 19-1). You can set pitch-bearing trees afire, even when green. You can get other types of trees to burn by placing dry wood in the lower branches and igniting it so that the flames flare up and ignite the foliage. Before the primary tree is consumed, cut and add more small green trees to the fire to produce more smoke. Always select an isolated tree so that you do not start a forest fire and endanger yourself.
Figure 19-1. Tree Torch
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