For friction fire building with birch, you can use the dead and dry branches for your drill and fire board. These materials are effective, but not quite as easy to use as willow or cedar. By far, the best fire related use of birch comes when you burn the papery curls as your fire starter. This birch paper is like a stepping stone between tinder and kindling. Whether wet or dry, these birch bark curls will burn strong, creating a black oily smoke. Any birch species that produces papery bark will be useable, but the white birch (aka paper birch) is the most effective. You'll need an open flame like a match or lighter for best results in lighting the bark. Spark-based fire starting methods are not particularly effective for lighting the bark strips.