How many fires did the protagonist build in "To Build a Fire"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The solitary protagonist of "To Build a Fire" built three fires in all. He built his first fire in order to thaw out his frozen fingers and toes. He plucked his firewood from the undergrowth, where he found a supply of twigs. A roaring fire was soon going, and he thawed the ice from his face and ate his lunch--biscuits and bacon. Before leaving, he smoked his pipe. He built his second fire after cracking through the thin ice and wetting his feet. The fire was a success--for a few moments, for he had unwittingly built it under a spruce tree, and the heat caused snow to fall from the tree and smother the fire. The man managed to build a third fire, using his remaining 70 matches at once in his frozen hands, but a piece of moss smothered the fire, leaving the man without a way to build another, and leaving him alone to deal with the elements.