Arctic Firestarter - dried tundra lichen

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In stock
Preparation takes 1-3 business days
Arrives from the United States

Made in Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska

Item details


Description: This is "kukun" or dried lichen that is found piled in the hollows of the tundra here in the arctic. It always has a beautiful dark color to it and is slightly flexible.

Latin Name: Masonhalea richardonsonii

Uses: It is used by the Inupiaq as an amazing fire starter. Extremely light and can be compacted into a small space, touched with the slightest bit of flame and it burns hot and ignites quickly. Leaves no unwanted residue behind, no chemicals involved, no wax, no worries that you might leave traces of something man made behind you. Safe for fires that are used for cooking food. The lichen is fully cured and has no discernible scent, and does not produce a smell when burning.

We never leave home without a handful of this stuff whenever we go camping or hiking, just in case there is bad weather or we get stuck somewhere and need the wood to burn. Also great for those that have a home hearth, a back yard fire pit, or the outdoor cooking oven!

To use: we ball it up a bit for best effect before igniting, as the kukun will burn so hot and fast that it will not last long if it is spread out too thin. Place kindling on top of the kukun and ignite. The drier the kindling the better.

Can be used as a decorative element but please be aware of it's flammable properties and use caution.

You will receive 1 ounce of kukun lichen in a sturdy wax lined kraft paper bag to keep it dry, which is enough for three or more fires depending on weather and wood conditions.

    Average review
    Always a pleasure buying from you! Thank you.
    Sep 9, 2014 by Kristian White
    Super happy and received the package amazingly fast coming all the way from Alaska! THANKS
    Jul 6, 2011 by A fellow maker

Shipping & policies
Preparation takes 1-3 business days
Arrives from the United States
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I ship using parcel post, first class, priority mail, first class international, or priority global via USPS. Because of my location the USPS is the only service available. Tracking, if available for your package, is included for free. My postage service will email you a tracking number to the email listed on your etsy account, once mailed, if it is available.

~As of FEB 1st 2012 the longest domestic shipping time was 9 days for an envelope, and 2 weeks for a parcel post box. The shortest was 2 days. The shortest International first class was 2 weeks.

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~I do what's possible to insure that if you buy herbs from me they are packed to prevent crushing, but expect some settling of product because of transit. This goes for the foot soak also.


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Additional return information
I do not offer refunds at this time. Please be sure of your purchase. I try and represent my items as true and as detailed as possible, if you have any questions PLEASE ASK BEFORE you purchase. I do not offer exchanges.

If there is something wrong with your product please convo me as soon as you notice it. I will exchange or replace a product if the quality was not to my expectations or if they did not meet the description of the product.

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Additional policies

Please convo me questions and I will add them here as they are answered.

Q: Why did I see an herb/berry/jam/jelly yesterday or last month and it's not there today?
A: I follow Nature and her whims so once I run out of an herb or product I must wait till the next year to collect another batch. All of these plants can only be harvested during specific times of the year, and it depends on my other activities (we live a subsistence life) and how much time I have to gather them. So get them when you can! I will not stock the herb for more than the next season, which is usually about 9 months. Jams will not be stocked beyond a season also (jams are my best sellers so they go VERY fast!)

Q:Are there any guarantees on your materials?
A: I guarantee that the items are 100% from a registered Alaskan Native, myself. I guarantee that the Alaskan Native materials are authentic and have been gathered with as much environmental awareness and respect to Traditional Inupiaq values as possible. We use these products and ingredients right along with all of our valued customers so quality is paramount.

Q:Why do I only ship USPS and not UPS or any other delivery service?
A: I live in a village in the boonies in which there is no roads, so everything here is shipped in and out using very very tiny planes, which depend on weather conditions, and in which mail an cargo is prioritized.

Q: What do you make your scent memory oils out of? is it real plants? will I be allergic to it? How do you make them? Can I find them mass produced?
A: I buy high quality manufactured ultra concentrated synthetic perfume oils that are sold to be used in the making of soaps and lotions and artisan perfumes. These are produced to be skin safe and very fragrant. I do not use extracts from plants, this cuts down on the percentage of people who have negative and side reactions as it also aligns with our belief that extracts from plants are medicinal and should be treated as such. Plant extracts contain a myriad of chemicals that can, and usually do, react with the systems of the human body, whether the person wants them to or not. Since a fragrance should be as neutral as possible I have chosen to use synthetics. It also opens up the palette for me as the designer, as there are many many more notes of scent available synthetically. I purchase single 'notes' (as in they have one smell ex: orange, or Ivy, or almond) and I combine them in a way so that they closely mimic the desired smell I am aiming for. I also combine them in a way so that the smell changes the way I want it to over time. I then dilute the concentrated mixture I made in oils, oils that are good for your skin and won't dry it out like alcohol, that extend the perfume life, that will prevent the perfume from spoiling over a long period of time. These are called 'artisan' perfumes and you will not be able to find them anywhere else but here. Please send me a note if you wish to offer my perfume oils in your brick and mortar stores as I do offer bulk discounts.

Q: Why do some products carry a aspirin allergy warning? Do you add aspirin to them?
A: No I do not add aspirin to my products. Some of my products do contain wildcrafted willow bark or Alder, which carries a natural form of salicylic acid which is also found in OTC aspirin. So if you have a reaction to aspirin, more than likely you will have a reaction to my products containing Willow or Alder. It is a pain reliever that has been used for thousands of is milder than OTC aspirin, but lasts much longer.

Q: Where is your money going?
A: It is going to help support us in our subsistence lifestyle, and in the long run goes to support this Native community and our long standing Ancient traditions. Thank you for your contributions! If you would like to donate money that will be distributed directly through amazing programs please visit: