1.) TINDER. It's underrated by amateurs. Anyone can add paper to a fire and hope that it heats up enough to light a log. The key is to progressively work your way up to said log, by using sticks. When I build a fire, I don't even put the log in until I've got some decent coals going from sticks.
2.)DRY and DEAD WOOD. If a stick cracks when bent with minimal effort, it's typically good for fire. If it bends, it's not dead enough (and dry enough) to be effective.
3.)Fire starters. I pack 2 easy ignitables on every trip. A Can of Sterno fuel (basically gel alcohol, with a pudding consistency), and toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint. Dryer lint is very flammable, but doesn't burn as fast as paper. Stuff that in cardboard, and you've got a decent ignitable that will last for 20-30 seconds, which is usually enough time to get some sticks going. The sterno fuel is more of a fail safe. If I have a hard time getting it going, I'll knife out a lotion squirt sized portion or two into my tinder. Sterno burns hot and lasts longer than paper, increasing your tinder light chances.