Good point. Splitting with a knife! Next time. The area I was at was a campground. I know they usually sterilize areas like that. So, branches are cleared, or so it looked. Also, other campers regularly gather for their own fires. My intent was to use what was available in the most obvious ways. And not to try to solve the problem before I had one. I experienced this stove as, most likely, others did, too. Part of my response/review is that it takes a bit of experience and 'know how' to use this stove properly. It is not simply an "Add wood and burn" stove. And .... while at camp I wanted to read the manual. (Does anyone read manuals anymore?) Then I remembered that I left it in the box at home. It, the Biolite II, came with some really good fire starter, a well fitting bag, and an LED light. I have not tried the light yet.