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Provisions of Making Fire

-on beacon fire site

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Provisions of making fire
Juyongguan Great WallIn making response fire is to be made within the furnace to enable smoke to rise above the chimney. Fuel wood should be placed above the earthen furnace. In case only one fire is needed one man should be in charge for lighting and extinguishing it. In case of two fires, two men are to be in charge. In case of three, an equal number of men will be put in charge. During the fog and cloudy weather, the smoke can hardly be seen from afar, messenger should be sent to inform the next station. When weather becomes clear, smoke is to be made according to regulation.

When 50-500 enemy cavalry or infantry invade the territory one column of smoke is to be made. When 500-3,000 enemy come, two columns of smokes are to be made. Should 500-1,000 cavalry drive southward, three columns of smokes are to be made. Should 3,000 cavalry come, three columns of smoke are to be made. Burning four smokes mean the approaching enemy are numbered over 10,000.

One column of smoke is a signal the prefecture and county under whose jurisdiction the furnace is placed. Two or more columns of smoke is a signal to the capital. The prefecture, county and township from which the signal is sent should dispatch messenger to inform the royal court. If the enemy retreats, after making the smoke as a direct signal to the capital, one column of smoke is again to be made to signal retreat. The enemy invasion is signaled by making smoke three times and extinguishing it three times. To signal that all is well two columns of smokes should be made and extinguished.

According to the book "Tong Dian": beacon fire site is located in strategic spot on mountain. It can also be built on elevated plain, if there is no mountain. Below the site is a stable for horses and sheep.

A fire is made in the morning and evening to signal all is well. Should this "all is well"signal fail to be lighted, the beacon fire site is regarded as overrun by the enemy.

Each beacon fire site is manned by six persons, who keep vigil day and night by turn. The head of the crew is a man who knows military intelligence and sends or receives messages.

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