This story takes place in an area of North America, in Canada, where temperatures traditionally go down to 50 below zero and can go much lower. The story's setting is frigid, Arctic, wilderness, uninhabited, except for the rugged miners who brave the environment in search of riches.
"Jack London spent time in both Alaska and Canada. In ‘‘To Build a Fire’’ he writes about the Yukon trail that winds in and out of Alaska and Canada."
"Thousands of goldseekers traveled this and other land and water routes to the Klondike, hoping to strike it rich."
"They ignored warnings about the harsh winters they would encounter in the Northland, just as the man in ‘‘To Build a Fire’’ ignores the warnings of the experienced old-timer at the Klondike mining camp of Sulphur Creek."
The story takes place in the Yukon Territory in Northwestern Canada. It is winter and the man starts out to make his way to a mining camp at around 9 am in the morning. The main character is new to the territory and is ill-prepared for the harsh nature of the weather, which is brutal. Because of this and because he does not let the dog lead, he ends up dying of hypothermia.