If you were ever a Boy Scout this post is probably old hat to you. ;)
I did some testing tonight with one of the egg carton, dryer lint, and canning wax fire starters I made a couple weeks ago. To light it I put some unwaxed dryer lint on the top and lit it with sparks from a firesteel (ferrocerium rod). These will of course light readily with matches or a lighter.
Unlit fire starter:
After about a minute:
At six minutes it's going strong and giving off quite a bit of light:
At 14 minutes. As you can see the flame is getting lower.
Finally, about a minute and a half after the previous picture, it finally went out. There were still embers of cardboard glowing now that all the wax was burned off. This pic was taken after 16 minutes:
It burned pretty hot and since the flame lasts long it would be very good at lighting wet sticks. I haven't tried it myself but I have read of guys using one of these with an Esbit stove to boil water for tea or soup.
The cost for one of these is minimal, really all you need to buy is the canning wax, and you could substitute wax from candles that you can often buy for pennies at yard sales. I recommend using dryer lint from loads with mostly cotton clothing or towels.
Be very careful when melting wax. Use a double boiler and it's safest to do it outside, just in case it ignites.