Fire is an important element of The Long Dark, allowing the player several useful features such as warming themselves to increase the Cold meter, granting the ability to cook or heat up food items, melt snow into water, scare off predators, and serve as a stationary light source.
How to create
To start a fire, the player first needs a location in order to do it. Any Pot Bellied Stove, Fireplace, or Furnace will always be available to start a fire, and those can be found in most houses. Outside, the player may use the radial menu to start a campfire, however, they will be unable to do this in interior locations, if the wind is too strong, or if on an uneven surface.
Once a suitable location has been found, the player needs a few items to create the fire. The first is a fire source. Cardboard Matches, Wood Matches, or a Firestriker can be used for this. The match will be consumed (or Condition lost on the firestriker) regardless of whether or not the player succeeds.
Second, they will need fuel. Wood is the only substance available to burn. A Stick will provide seven minutes of fire, Reclaimed Wood provides half an hour, Cedar Firewood provides an hour, Fir Firewood provides an hour and a half, and a Firelog provides two hours. If the fire fails to start, this item will not be consumed, and can be used again in a second attempt.
Third, they will need tinder. Tinder is a small flammable item that provides no benefit to the fire succeeding, and will be consumed whether or not the fire succeeds or fails to start. Birch bark, Cat Tail Head, Newsprint, Newsprint Roll, or a Tinder Plug must be used. After the player reaches fire starting level 3, tinder is no longer needed, but may be optionally selected.
Optionally, an accelerant can be used to boost success and make the fire start faster. Lighter fluid or a bit of kerosene can be used.