In a hurry to get a fire started, he stuck a large piece of cardboard into his wood stove.
State police said that Steele had been in the makeshift shelter since December 17 or 18, when the roof of his cabin had caught fire after he burned a "big piece of cardboard" in his woodstove.
He began ordering every little thing he could, consisting of coverings and a rifle yet his actual top priority was his 6-year-old delicious chocolate laboratory, Phil.
A homesteader survived weeks of subzero cold in the Susitna Valley wilderness after his cabin was destroyed by fire in mid-December, Alaska State Troopers said.
Helicopter footage released by Alaska State Troopers showed Steele waving for help, with SOS marked out in the deep snow, after a rescue effort was launched as he had not called his parents for three weeks. "I've just always been in the outdoors", he said.
That afternoon, troopers were dispatched to Steele's cabin for a welfare check after friends and family reported they had not heard from him for a concerning amount of time.
Steele told the troopers. Just a visceral - not angry, not sad - just. all I could express, just scream. He built a snow cave big enough for him and his sleeping bag.
"There's this image that keeps coming back in my mind of a swirling flame coming sideways for my face, you know?" he told the trooper.
He gathered what cans of food had survived - many had popped open in the heat, and he said all the food ended up tasting like burning plastic - and spent the first two nights in a snow cave. But I just huddled into that dark cave and I slept.
"He was so scared of the fire and in my thinking I've gotta grab Phil and I've gotta grab some stuff to sleep in so I basically". He made an SOS signal in the snow, tracing it with the ash from the fire to make it stand out, he said. But I have no idea what waterways stay frozen enough for me to walk through - I could fall through the ice.
Now that he's been rescued, Steele said he plans to reunite with his family.
He said he was able to ration the food storage that he was able to salvage.
Steele said the entire time he remained hopeful that someone would contact the air service to look for him after not hearing for him.
He knew his best shot at being rescued was friends or family becoming anxious at the lack of contact; unfortunately, because of his "crappy phone" his parents had gotten used to him not checking in.
In the meanwhile, Steele rested in a snow cavern prior to structure a much better sanctuary, utilizing tarpaulins and scrap lumber.
Pilot Cliff Gilliland and Tactical Flight Officer Trooper Zac Johnson rescued him, the agency said.