I was originally going to call this post “How to Start a Fire Pit Without Lighter Fluid,” but I thought I’d go with something somewhat more inconspicuous and on point.
All in all, assuming you can’t drench your backyard fire pit with lighter liquid or other flammable fluids, toss in a match, and bask in its toasty goodness, what do you do, you may ask?
Fear not. Learning How to Start a Fire Pit the correct way (meaning the safe way) isn’t as hard as you think. Note: We are talking about wood burning fire pits in this post – I’ll cover the safe lighting of gas fire pits in a future post.
More or less, this is how you start your fire pit fire (read further underneath for the details):
Begin with placing tinder in a small heap at the bottom of the fire pit; then, at that point, structure kindling in a teepee-like design over the tinder heap
Carefully light the tinder, waiting for the kindling to start burning
When the kindling is burning, begin adding seasoned or furnace dried split firewood logs each in turn, in a manner that allows for appropriate airflow between the logs, preferably in a teepee, log cabin, or pyramid configuration
Add additional logs when the fire begins to wane, taking caution as logs in the fire can move, potentially throwing ashes and other burning garbage outside the confines of the fire pit
Prior to starting your fire, take note of your surroundings, making sure your fire pit is perfectly located, away from structures and other unintended fuel sources, and in compliance with local fire code and your HOA covenants (assuming you have a HOA).
Table of Contents
PREPARING TO START A FIRE PIT
In request to appropriately start a fire in a fire pit, you should gather dry tinder and kindling, seasoned firewood, something to start your fire with, such as matches or a lighter, and a supply of water for crises.
A pair of log tongs and heat resistant glove(s) are prescribed for anyone tasked with tending to the fire. Take caution to not wear free clothing that may put you in danger for injury from an errant fire pit flame.
WHAT IS TINDER?
How to Light a Fire Pit For the reasons for lighting your fire pit, tinder is that easily lit fast burning fuel source that gets your kindling, and eventually your logs, burning.
Tinder itself can be anything from fatwood shavings, newspaper, pine needles, tree bark (birch bark is the best IMHO), leaves, etc., as long as whatever you use is dry at the time.
I’m a fan of this idea from Wikihow, using lint from a clothes dryer and the cardboard tubes left over from rolls of toilet paper. These are things you are going to throw out anyway, why not start a small stockpile to get your fire pit fire going a lot faster.
WHAT IS KINDLING?
Kindling is essentially the sticks, branches, twigs, and small cuts of wood that, when touched off, will consume long to the point of to getting your fire pit main fuel source (your hardwood firewood) going.
Softwoods, in general, are great for use as tinder and kindling; wood choices like pine, poplar, cedar, and spruce are options that work well.
WHAT IS SEASONED FIREWOOD?
Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut and stacked in a place that allows it to dry to the point when its dampness content is 25% or beneath, 20% or lower is ideal.
This firewood seasoning interaction can take anywhere from a half year to three years depending on the kind of wood.
Making sure you have appropriately seasoned firewood, particularly for fire pits, is important because it lights fast, stays lit, and consumes more smoking and cleaner than firewood that has not been as expected seasoned, or dried.
Seasoned birch, oak, maple, and beech firewood are great options among many when selecting wood for your fire pit. Check out my article Best Burning Firewood for Your Fire Pit for my top picks is firewood.
Like most things, search at the best cost to find out about the expenses in your area. Seasoned firewood costs and conveyance charges may vary greatly from one provider to another.
Assuming these sorts of wood are not available on your property or you are not interested in chopping, stacking, and seasoning your own wood, search for providers in your area that offer oven or air-dried firewood choices.
These providers will also typically offer seasoned softwoods as well for your kindling needs.
WHAT IS KILN-DRIED FIREWOOD?
Furnace dried firewood is created by placing green wood in a specially planned oven, providing a speedier way of reducing the dampness content, under 25% as referenced previously, to the point where it will consume viably.
A further advantage is that insects are eliminated during the drying system, which is great assuming you plan to store at least a portion of your wood indoors.
Most firewood suppliers do not offer kiln-dried wood currently so you will have to shop around if this option sounds good to you.
Assuming you resemble me, you get really annoyed using those kitchen lighters that are always out of fuel, don’t stay lit extremely long, and disregard using them outside shortly of wind.
After an exceptionally frustrating fourth of July one year, standing out on the lawn looking like a jacka**, trying to light fireworks for everybody in a light wind, I began a genuine investigation of alternative firestarter choices.
Not at all like fireworks, you’ll no doubt just have to light your fire pit once, however having a dependable firestarter choice that works without fail (especially in wind) will save you a great deal of time and anguish.
Basic disposable lighters and even the more expensive Zippo type don’t do well in wind yet are choices under the right conditions.
Matches obviously present similar challenges, yet like lighters, they are a choice in a pinch.
Personally, I incline toward a choice like an electric arc/plasma beam lighters or a butane torch lighter for lighting a fire pit. The two sorts work great in wind and different conditions and shouldn’t break the bank.
A certain something however, the greater part of these lighters are not that very much made, even the ones at more exorbitant cost points. However, when they take care of business, they usually function admirably.
For the electric arc-type lighters, purchase the ones on the lower end of the value scale, looking for multipacks (around $15 to $20/multipack). Treat them like a disposable thing, because that’s basically what they are.
On the off chance that those aren’t your thing, a butane torch lighter can be a reliable and generally inexpensive firestarter choice. Unfortunately, similar to the electric arc and plasma beam lighters, most butane torch lighters on the market are crap too.
With the Dremel name, a 9-piece accessory kit, a 2-year warranty, and the fact that it can be used for a lot of other home-related tasks other than lighting your fire pit, you can’t beat it at its price point.
Blazer also makes a decent butane torch lighter for the money. You’ll pay just a little more for most of their models, but they’re generally regarded as solid and reliable, and you’ll have a much wider line to choose from.
STARTING, MAINTAINING, AND PUTTING OUT THE FIRE
Once you have everything you need to start a fire in a fire pit, you can begin the short process of placing your tinder, kindling, and seasoned firewood in just the right way to get your fire going and keep it going. Let’s go step-by-step…
HOW TO START A FIRE PIT FIRE
Position a heap of gathered tinder material in the focal point of the fire pit, about as large as an adult’s clench hand.
Then, at that point, assemble a teepee-like frame made from your kindling, straight above your heap of tinder situated in the focal point of the fire pit, placing the sticks and twigs near one another, however leaving a few gaps for airflow and lighting.
How to Start a Fire Pit Straightaway, find a gap in your teepee between your kindling and light the tinder heap with your firestarter of decision.
At the point when the kindling starts to consume, you can then begin placing your seasoned or oven dried firewood in the fire pit.Firewood placement ought to be in a teepee, log cabin, or pyramid stack that gives a concentration of fuel to the fire yet with the necessary spacing and gaps to allow for adequate airflow.
Add additional tinder and kindling, as required, assuming your main fuel source, your seasoned firewood, doesn’t adequately light and begin to consume
PUTTING OUT YOUR FIRE PIT FIRE
At the point when the party’s almost finished, stop adding wood to the fire and let begin to go out on its own.Once the fire has had adequate chance to fade away, extinguish the coals by adding either sand to cover the fire or water to soak the ashes.
In the event that you pick the water course, mix the water/ash blend in with a digging tool or similar tool to make sure the coals are saturated.
Get small youngsters and pets far from the cooling fire pit as there are still dangers related to hot metal, ashes, and so forth
CONCLUSION: HOW TO START A FIRE PIT
How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit Like many tasks, Starting a Fire in a Fire Pit well and keeping it going, takes practice. Do it enough and you’ll eventually get what works for you while keeping it safe.
Whenever you have the interaction down, start to stockpile those things you’ll require so you have them on-hand at whatever point the desire to light your fire pit arises.
Keep safety at the bleeding edge and make sure to include those safety things referenced (water supply, log tongs, defensive gloves, and so on) in your fire pit meetings.
Consider setting these things aside as part of a pack you can break out rapidly without having to go over your garage or shed looking for each of them.
What are some great kindling choices assuming I don’t want to walk picking up sticks or live in a rural area? A popular kindling choice, to get your hands too filthy, is pre-boxed fatwood kindling.
Fatwood is essentially the resin-rich result of the taproot of longleaf and other pine varieties. This naturally occurring resin contains the entirely flammable substance terpene, which greatly aids in Starting a Fire in a Fire Pit.
Another choice is to go through your firewood provider and ask assuming that they offer softwood kindling with properties similar to fatwood. Cedar, spruce, juniper, and fir are examples.
What kinds of firewood are the most hard to start? Beech and oak are among the most productive firewood decisions in North America, yet both can be a headache to begin.
So, both consume very hot and long once lit. Keep a lot of fast burning softwood kindling on-hand to get these two sorts of firewood rolling. The decisions referenced in the past question are great choices.
In addition to kindling, there are various extremely powerful retail fire-starter items that will consume sufficiently hot and long to the point of to getting obstinate lighting fire pit firewood going for great.
InstaFire (company link) is one, and probably the most effective in my opinion. About 2 tablespoons will get it done in good conditions (i.e. dry, low to no wind, etc), double that number if you’ve got some wind, damp weather, poorly seasoned wood, etc.
Pro Tip: Keep Instafire in a pile so it’s concentrated and up against the wood in your stack; don’tspread it out or sprinkle it around the base of the firewood stack – you’ll dilute it’s effectiveness.
Another solid fire-starter option are these from Melt, and my second choice (link to Amazon). Had little confidence in them when I bought them but I was pleasantly surprised how well they worked.
They were the main choice in a local hardware store so I took a chance. They light rapidly and give a flame to sufficient opportunity to get most wood moving in more ideal conditions.
What can I do with the fire pit ashes whenever they have cooled? When your fire pit ashes have had a chance to cool more than a 2-3 day time span they can be discarded via your regular neighborhood garbage pickup.
Take extra care to guarantee the ashes are cooled all through prior to transferring them to a disposable container or bag.
Also, fire pit ash can be utilized around the home and garden to thaw out sidewalk and driveway ice in the winter and utilized in the garden in the Spring/Summer because of its lime and potassium content.
Artichokes, tomatoes, and broccoli, among other garden choices, can profit from ash because of its alkaline piece.
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