many of my fires are started directly on snow, no issues, most good for 2 to 20 people..if fuel is available
[u]Dry hot base is needed for all</u>
many of the above basics work well, build from there.
cool fire = slow ,low lying ,lingering smoke...
Hot base may show smoke, but smoke rises swiftly, near vertical, even if not showing flame, it will catch with the right product.
Dont prod a good fire too much, it will dense up and cool off,airspace is needed between pieces.
Birchbark and cedar bits can make for a very hot fire starter, should be able to make a fire anywhere with it, even on a cold november night in BC.