You might have a fire pit outside, ready to be used inside your yard, but do you know how to use it? While figuring out how to start a fire in a fire pit does seem easy, it can be tough for newcomers and first-timers to fire pits. It isn’t like a fireplace, and you certainly don’t want the flames escaping the pit and getting into the rest of the yard.
I want to help you not only start a fire in your fire pit but also to sustain it for your long dinner parties and other events. So once you start your fire, you’ll be able to make sure it burns long into the night.
What you will need to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit
In order to properly light your fire pit, then you will need access to these things:
- Tinder such as pine needles, shavings, or cotton balls
- Smaller pieces of wood to use as kindling
- Large firewood logs
- A firepit
- A fire starter: such as matches and a lighter
If you don’t have a lot of wood in your area, you can focus on other flammable materials for your fire. Tinder can be cotton balls, dryer lint, fabric, or other items that are small and can easily burn. Scraps of wood will work better than other items, but they can be used in a pinch if needed.
Kindling does need to be wood, but common twigs can act as your kindling. You will need to get larger slabs of wood for the logs, but if you don’t have access to this type of wood you can buy it. Regardless of how you get the wood, then you can get started with the fire.
Instructions to Light a Fire in a Fire Pit
All your firewood and fire making materials should be dry, as wet wood will not burn. Still, creating a fire in a fire pit is quite easy.
Step 1: Make a big pile of tinder
The pile of tinder should be about the size of your hand, and make sure that it is compact. Use thicker items, such as moss or dryer lint, to hold smaller items such as paper scraps or wood shavings. Then place the bundle in the middle of your firepit.
Step 2: Build a Kindling Teepee
Place the kindling over the pile of tinder at a 35-degree angle to make sure that it acts as a tee-pee. Make sure that the tinder is covered by the teepee and then keep the kindling balanced. The kindling should be layered, but make sure to have some extra kindling around to use for later in the night.
Step 3: Strike the Tinder
Fires work in a chain of reactions, where the tinder is lit up. Then that tinder alights the kindling, which later alights the larger slabs of wood. You can light the bundle of tinder in several ways, including using matches or flicking on a lighter.
Blow on the bundle of tinder to get the fire started, and then let the fire start to catch on the kindling.
Step 4: Feed the Fire
As the evening wears on you will need to add more kindling and perhaps even the large slabs of wood to keep the fire fed. Keep an eye on the fire, and don’t be afraid to move the fire around to rekindle the sparks.
Do I need Kindling?
Most people skip kindling and go straight to placing larger logs on the fire. You can replace kindling with the larger logs, but there is a chance that it will take the fire longer to heat up. If you need to have fast burning tinder, then pinecones or newspapers can act as good sets of tinder. So no, you do not need kindling, but it is recommended.
What Type of Wood should I burn?
The type of wood you burn doesn’t really matter too much. For tinder and kindling, the scraps of wood and twigs that you find in your yard will work for you. For the larger slabs of wood and hardwood, you should look for dry woods that will burn quickly.
What do I do if the fire doesn’t light?
In most cases, if the fire doesn’t light on the first try due to a match or lighter error, try it again. If the tinder isn’t catching the flame, then take a look to make sure the tinder is dry and flammable.
How often should I feed the fire?
For feeding a fire, you should always try to feed a fire whenever the flames and heat get low, and it starts to die. Typically tossing a log on the fire and occasionally moving everything around with a poker can rekindle a flame.
What if I don’t have matches or a lighter?
If you don’t have any other way to light a fire, you can either rub two sticks together to try to create friction or attempt to create an ember. While making fire naturally is hard, it isn’t impossible and our ancestors have done it for thousands of years!
Making a fire in a fire pit is one of the most fulfilling things that you can do as a human being, and I hope this tutorial will help you use your own firepit to the fullest. The steps to building a fire are very easy, and once you build one you can have a warm fire even on cold nights.
It can take a while to get a fire started if you have never built one before, but once you master the art of fire construction, you’ll be able to light fires in no time at all!