Heat Metal – Questions about the components

I’m a rookie DM with an even more rookie group of players. I have some questions about Heat Metal (2nd level transmutation).

It says you need a piece of iron and a flame. It also says the target of the spell is a manufactured metal object.

  • The piece of iron and the manufactured metal object are two separate objects, right? The caster needs to be in possession of the piece of iron, and the enemy would optimally be touching the manufactured metal (any metal – not just iron) object. Is that right?
  • Does the flame need to be close enough to the caster to touch (for example, if the caster would need to hold the piece of iron into the flame), or simply in the range of the spell? Intuitively I would have opted for the latter, as I’d imagine the caster would be drawing energy from nearby flames.
  • If there is no environmental fire nearby, would they have to use one action to light a fire with their tinderbox first? The PHB says "Don’t bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch." Does that apply here? Obviously the flame doesn’t have a cost, so can I just assume the caster.. uhm.. has a flame in their pouch? Or can we say lighting a small piece of tinder is part of the spell action?

I guess some/all of these could be answered with "DM-fiat", but in that case I’d be interested in how seasoned DMs rule it 🙂

Thanks!