How to start a fire in a fire pit – no more smokey fires!
How to start a fire in a fire pit is a question often asked by beginners sitting in front of a smouldering and smokey fire with their eyes stinging.
The warm and relaxing ambience of a fire pit has become more and more popular in recent years and once you know how to get it started easily can be a fun and relaxing activity.
However, If you don’t know how to start a fire properly, it can be frustrating and even dangerous.
In this blog, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to start a fire in a fire pit, the tools you will need, and how to keep the fire going.
- Why use a fire pit?
- The issues with poor quality fires?
- How to start a fire in a fire pit – Tools required
- How to start a fire in a fire pit – Step-by-step guide
- How to keep the fire going
- How to enjoy your fire pit safely
- How do you start a fire pit with coals?
- How to start a fire in a fire pit – Final thoughts
Why use a fire pit?
Fire pits are a great way to improve the ambience in your garden and provide a relaxing and inviting space for family and friends.
Whether you are planning a camping trip or just looking for a way to enjoy your backyard, a fire pit can be the perfect addition to your outdoor space. Not only does it provide warmth, but it also creates a cosy atmosphere for relaxing and socialising.
Knowing how to start a fire in a fire pit is a great skill to have and will greatly increase the overall enjoyment of the experience.
The issues with poor quality fires?
If you are unsure of how to start a fire in a fire pit it can greatly reduce your enjoyment of what should be a relaxing experience.
Firstly, when you can’t get a fire going it can become incredibly frustrating. People tend to respond by throwing more and more firelighters into the pit in desperate hope for the wood to catch.
What’s more, if you don’t manage a fire correctly it can result in a very smokey fire which stings your eyes and makes your clothes smell terrible.
Thankfully, after reading this guide you will be a pro in no time at all.
How to start a fire in a fire pit – Tools required
Before you start your fire, it’s essential to gather all the tools you need. Here’s a list of the necessary tools:
- Fire pit – You will need a fire pit to contain the fire and keep it from spreading. Make sure your fire pit is in a safe location and away from anything flammable. There are a whole host of different fire pit models available in both modern and traditional styles.
- Wood – You will need firewood to fuel your fire. Choose dry hardwood, such as oak or maple, which burns hotter and longer than softwood. Softwood is ok to get the fire going but you want hardwood to maximise both heat and efficiency.
- Kindling – Kindling is small pieces of dry wood that help ignite the fire. You can use twigs, dry leaves, or small branches for kindling. Ideally, use kiln-dried kindling which will make it even easier to get the fire going.
- Firelighters- natural firelighters make the lighting process a whole lot easier. If you don’t have any at hand newspaper also makes an excellent fire starter. Crumple up several sheets and place them under the kindling to help start the fire.
- Matches or a lighter – You will need a way to light the fire. Matches or a lighter are the easiest and safest way to do this.
- Fire poker – You will need a fire poker to move the wood around and adjust the fire’s airflow. A long-handled poker is best for safety reasons.
- Fire extinguisher – While it’s rare, accidents can happen. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case the fire gets out of control.
Having these tools ready before you start your fire will make the process much easier and safer. Make sure to gather all the necessary tools before you start, so you don’t have to leave the fire unattended.
How to start a fire in a fire pit – Step-by-step guide
Now that you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to start your fire. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Prepare the fire pit: Clear any debris or leaves from the fire pit, and make sure it’s in a safe location. If you’re using a portable fire pit, make sure it’s on a level surface and at least 10 feet away from any flammable materials.
- Stack the wood: Start by placing two pieces of firewood on the bottom of the fire pit, parallel to each other, leaving space between them for airflow. Stack two more pieces of wood on top, perpendicular to the bottom pieces, and continue building the stack up to about knee height. Think of a Jenga tower which each layer pointing in the opposite direction to the previous layer.
- Add kindling: Place a small amount of kindling on top of the wood stack, forming a teepee or hashtag shape with the kindling. Leave a small hole in the centre of the kindling to light the fire.
- Add firelighters: Add the firelighters to the centre of the kindling. If you have a newspaper, rumple up several sheets of newspaper and place them under the kindling.
- Light the fire: Light the firelighter in the centre of the kindling. Use matches or a lighter to start the fire.
- Keep an eye on the fire: Never leave a fire unattended, and keep children and pets at a safe distance. Make sure the fire is contained within the fire pit and not spreading.
- Put out the fire: When you’re finished with the fire, use the fire poker to spread the ashes and extinguish any remaining embers with water. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area.
Remember to never leave a fire unattended and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case. Enjoy your fire pit safely and responsibly!
How to keep the fire going
Now that your initial wood is burning you will have to add additional wood ready to keep the fire burning.
The key thing to remember is that for the fire to burn cleanly with little smoke, you must keep the temperature high.
Here are some additional tips to ensure you keep the fire going in the best possible manner.
- Add wood slowly: Adding too much wood at once can smother the fire. Add wood slowly, so the fire has time to adjust and maintain its temperature.
- Keep airflow: Airflow is essential to keep the fire burning. Make sure to adjust the wood as needed to allow air to flow through the fire.
- Keep the fire hot: Keep the fire hot by adding larger pieces of firewood. This will keep the fire burning longer and hotter.
- Use dry firewood: Wet or green firewood can be challenging to burn and may produce more smoke. Use dry hardwood for a cleaner burn and more efficient fire.
- Don’t overload the fire pit: Overloading the fire pit can cause the fire to spread and become dangerous. Keep the fire contained within the fire pit and avoid overcrowding it with too much wood.
By following these tips, you can keep your fire going for as long as you want and enjoy the warmth and ambience it provides. Remember to keep an eye on the fire and never leave it unattended.
How to enjoy your fire pit safely
Safety is the most important consideration when starting a fire in a fire pit.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Choose a safe location: Make sure your fire pit is in a safe location and at least 10 feet away from any flammable materials, such as trees, bushes, or buildings.
- Clear the area: Clear any debris, leaves, or grass from around the fire pit to prevent the fire from spreading.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby: Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
- Use the right fuel: Use dry hardwood to fuel your fire. Avoid using softwood or treated wood, which can produce harmful chemicals when burned.
- Never leave the fire unattended: Always keep an eye on the fire and never leave it unattended. Make sure children and pets are at a safe distance from the fire.
- Extinguish the fire completely: When you’re finished with the fire, use water to extinguish it completely. Make sure all embers are out before leaving the area.
- Follow local laws and regulations: Check your local laws and regulations regarding fires in fire pits. Some areas may have restrictions or require permits.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy your fire pit while minimising the risk of injury or property damage. Always prioritise safety when starting a fire in a fire pit.
How do you start a fire pit with coals?
Starting a fire pit with coals is another popular method, especially for those who prefer a longer-lasting and more controlled fire. Here are the steps to start a fire pit with coals:
Choose the right charcoal: There are two types of charcoal – briquettes and lump charcoal. Lump charcoal burns hotter and produces less ash than briquettes, but it can be more expensive.
- Arrange the coals: Arrange the coals in a pile at the centre of the fire pit. Leave some space around the edges for air to circulate.
- Add kindling: Place some kindling on top of the coals. Use small twigs or dry leaves to help ignite the coals.
- Light the kindling: Use a match or lighter to light the kindling. Wait for it to catch fire and start burning the coals.
- Fan the flames: Use a bellows or a fan to fan the flames and get the coals burning hotter.
- Add more coals: Once the coals have started burning, add more coals to the pile. Continue to fan the flames until the new coals have caught fire.
- Adjust the airflow: Adjust the airflow by opening or closing the vents on the fire pit or adding more coals to control the temperature of the fire.
By following these steps, you can start a fire pit with coals and enjoy a longer-lasting fire that provides warmth and ambience. Remember to always prioritise safety when starting a fire pit and never leave it unattended.
How to start a fire in a fire pit – Final thoughts
Starting a fire in a fire pit can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to do it safely and responsibly. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, using the right tools and materials, and prioritising safety, you can create a warm and inviting fire that you can enjoy with your family and friends.
If you would like to learn about other fun projects or garden activities please check out our full range of gardening guides.