Fire is a repeating symbol in Jack London's short story, "To Build a Fire." Fire, and the successful building of a fire, serves many purposes. Above all, it is a life-sustaining force in the deadly cold climate of the Yukon. It is used for warmth to preserve the human body, since a continuous campfire is necessary for sleeping; otherwise, a man would freeze in the extreme, sub-zero temperatures. Fire is used to cook food, further sustenance for man. It is used for protection against wild animals. But fire's most important use in the story comes as a heat source to thaw frozen clothing. The Chechaquo, the main character in the story, recognizes this importance, and he uses fire for this purpose. In the end, fire also causes the man's demise, melting the snow in the tree and sending it to the earth, where the fire is extinguished. With the death of the fire comes the death of the man.