Knowing how to start a fire is a handy skill when you want to light your home fire pit. Simple and straightforward, this process will help you start a nice and cozy fire for a chilly night or a fun night with the family.
Starting a Fire in a Fire Pit
When you are getting ready to start a fire, you will need four things: dry firewood, kindling, tinder, and a lighter. You can buy wood that was produced specifically for starting fires to make the whole process easier, but it’s not necessarily a requirement. Let’s assume that you are using wood that you just happen to have on hand and plan on making a fire using the “teepee” fire design. There are several ways that you can lay a fire, but the “teepee” design is easy and fast and typically what most people think of when they think about building a fire.
Next, you want to start building the fire using tinder, which can be any type of dry and small material that is capable of easily lighting on fire, burning quickly, and burning hot. You can look around your yard and pick up wood shavings or dry leaves. You can even use paper. The tinder bundle will be the base of the fire in your fire pit.
Once you have laid down the tinder, you will want to make a teepee in the fire pit over the tinder material. Next, use kindling, which can be the twigs and small sticks that you have around you. Just be sure that you leave a tiny opening in the teepee you are creating for airflow. Ensuring the fire gets air, the airflow is what you will need to have good combustion. You will then use the smallest pieces of kindling at the middle of your teepee and then work your way up using the larger pieces making sure to save the largest pieces of firewood for the very top of the teepee.
After you have put your teepee together, use matches or a lighter to light the tinder pile on fire. The tinder should easily catch on fire and burn hot allowing the smaller pieces of kindling to also ignite. Next, your larger kindling pieces should also catch on fire, and, if you have assembled the fire well, the kindling should then catch all of the rest of the firewood on fire as well. All you need to do now is sit back and enjoy. Although your teepee fire will eventually fall down, your fire should be strong enough that you can add more logs to the fire without any problem.
Types of Fire Pits
A backyard fire pit is the most popular type of fire pit. Available in any style, shape, and size, fire pits can look like a campfire or a luxury ready-built model. If you have a DIY model, it is probably made with stones placed in a circle with a fire that is built inside it creating that classic campfire feel. More luxurious models take that campfire feel and take it to the next level using high-end building materials as well as exotic and rare stones that provide the classic look with a feeling of elegance.
An in-ground pit is also an option. This design is basically a hole in a paved patio area where you can build a fire. Pre-fabricated fire pits have a limitless number of designs and pricing. You can have something with a modern feel or a rustic look that ranges in price from an affordable, budget fire pit to a luxury, designer price.
Typically, a fire pit model is built for use above ground. Some will be installed permanently in one area of your yard while others are portable and can be moved to other areas of your yard. Metal is commonly used when constructing fire pits since it is durable and rust-resistant. The best choices that hold up well to heat and wear and tear are copper, cast iron, and stainless steel.
Wood is the traditional type of fuel for a backyard fire pit while other options include gel, bioethanol, charcoal, natural gas, and propane. You can also find totally electric fire pits on the market as well. Remember that while a fire pit can provide heat for a cool evening, it can also be a great place to grill food.
With the many types of fire pits on the market, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that will match your needs and outdoor décor. Keep in mind that these features are not only fashionable but also functional. Brick and stone fire pits have a classic style that has been passed down through many centuries.
Stone or Brick Fire Pit
This is a popular, classic style passed down through the centuries with its simple design and is usually made with cinder blocks, bricks, or stones.
Wood Burning Pit
While providing a sensual aesthetic of a modern fireplace, a wood-burning pit can also double as a cooking and grilling area thanks to the grill grate that you can set over the fire.
Best Wood to Use in a Fire Pit
When choosing firewood for your fire pit, you need to consider the smoke, heat output, and burn speed of different types of firewood. Hardwoods like maple, oak, hickory, and ash are typically the best type of fuel, but they can also take a longer time to catch on fire. Softwoods like cedar, pine, and fir can also make good fuel, but they tend to put off a lot of smoke and burn faster than hardwoods do. These types of wood should be considered more of a fire starter if possible.
You should also consider the moisture content of the types of wood. Wood that isn’t totally dry will throw more sparks, pop, and crackle than dry wood. This is because of inefficient steam and combustion pockets that are released as they burst. Hardwood isn’t as likely as softwood to pop and crackle. You can easily avoid this issue completely by using wood that is kiln-dried and make specifically for fireplaces and fire pits.
How long wood burns will depend on what type of wood you use in the fire pit. Hardwoods will burn longer than softwood, which is due to the fibers in the hardwood sitting closer together than in a hardwood.
Now, assuming you are starting the fire with softwood and then sustaining it with hardwood, you should end up with a nice and long-lasting fire. You should look for logs between 12 and 14 inches long and about four to five inches in diameter. Every two hours, you should use four or five logs to feed the fire, assuming that the fire pit between three and four feet in diameter. When you change the variables, it can change your burn time, so this is a rough estimate.
Best Way to Put Out a Fire in a Fire Pit
It’s important to always have a shovel and water handy in order to control a fire. When putting out a fire, you should remember to add water first and then dirt before stirring. It is important to mix the two until you do not see any hot embers remaining. You should also be able to place your hand over the mix of water and dirt safely if you have properly put out the fire. Always keep water and a shovel handy to control your fire.
Make sure you remember to put out your fire correctly when you are ready to go in for the night. Even when a fire has been put out, you will see the embers continue to smolder, which means that the fire can reignite if you aren’t careful. Remember that you can’t assume you’re your fire has gone out, so don’t leave your fire pit unattended until it’s cool.
Things You Need to Make a Great Fire
So, what exactly is tinder? When considering tinder to light a fire pit, you can find a fuel that is easy to light and quick-burning that gets both your kindling as well as logs burning. You can use anything for tinder from pine needles, newspaper, tree bark, fatwood shavings, and leaves. Basically, whatever you can find that is dry and flammable you can use.
It’s also been suggested to use cardboard tubes that are left from toilet paper rolls or even line from your clothes dryer. Anything you are planning to throw out can also be used to help get your fire pit going faster.
Essentially twigs, sticks, and branches, kindling consists of smaller cuts of wood that will burn a long time when they are ignited. Basically, it is the fuel source for the wood in your fire pit. Softwoods are a great choice for use as kindling and tinder, particularly wood like spruce, cedar, poplar, and pine.
Firewood that is seasoned consists of wood that’s been stacked somewhere that will allow it to dry so that there is a 25 percent or less moisture content. This seasoning process occurs over a six-month to a three-year time period that depends on the wood type. It’s important that the seasoned firewood will burn hotter, lightfast, and stay lit. Seasoned beech, birch, oak, and maple firewood make great choices when choosing wood for a fire pit.
Produced by placing some green wood into a kiln with a special design, the kiln-dried firewood provides a fast way to reduce the moisture content to less than 25 percent so that it can burn effectively. It also eliminates insects in the drying process that makes it nice if you need to store some of the wood inside during the winter.
Kitchen lighters can be frustrating when they don’t stay lit long, run out of fuel, and the wind blows them out. Alternative methods that are dependable and work every time will save you a lot of frustration and save you a lot of time. A basic disposable lighter or even expensive Zippos that doesn’t do well in but can be a good option under the correct conditions. Matches have similar issues that lighters do, but they can work well in
Matches have very similar challenges, however, like lighters, matches a good option if there is nothing else around. If you’re looking for something that works well in windy conditions, try a butane torch lighter or arc beam lighter that is also pretty affordable. Arc lighters are the most affordable and are basically a disposable item while a butane torch lighter is an inexpensive and reliable option to start a fire.
How do you start a fire in a fire pit?
The best option is to use the teepee fire method. After placing the tinder down and allowing a small hole for airflow, light the tinder on fire. The lit tinder will then light the kindling and larger pieces of wood on fire and sustain itself enough that you will be able to add larger pieces of wood without the fire going out.
What is the best thing to burn in a fire pit?
The best thing to burn in a fire pit is kiln-dried wood that was created specifically to be used in a fire pit. This wood is dried and won’t have any issues with moisture that other wood can have.
How do you start a fire in a fire pit without lighter fluid?
When you use the teepee fire method, you layer tinder that is very flammable under kindling and larger pieces of wood. Once the tinder has lit on fire, it will then light the kindling and larger pieces without having to worry about using lighter fluid.
How do you light an outdoor fire pit?
The easiest way to light a fire in an outdoor pit is to make sure you have enough tinder at the base of the wood. Using a match or a lighter, you can light the highly flammable tinder on fire, which will then spread to the kindling and larger pieces of wood.