Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: April 12, 2021

I like to gather friends and spend a relaxing evening around a campfire, or cook outside for my family. I finally got my new fire pit, and all I have to do is start a fire in it. Someone will say - that’s an easy job. All I need to do is put some wood in the fireplace, light a match, and enjoy a fire burn, right?

If you’ve ever tried to start a fire, you know that this is not true. You should follow some steps to make perfect fire, save your environment, and finally start grilling your favorite food. Read on and learn how to start a fire in a fire pit.

4 Steps To Follow When Starting Fire in a Fire Pit

Step 1 – Let safety be your priority.

Fire in the wood

Before embarking on the process of starting a fire, be sure to make yourself, your beloved, and your environment safe. Do that by following these instructions.

Carefully choose the location for your fire pit.

Before you start the fire, select the right location to place your fire pit. It should be a level ground surface, so the fire pit would not tip over. It would be best if it were made of brick, concrete, stone, or some other heat resistant material.

Don’t place the fire pit under a tree or porch. Keep distance from grass, plants, buildings, and any other objects such as furniture that can be damaged.

Keep a proper distance.

Building a fire can be dangerous, and according to research, cooking is the main reason that causes a fire. (1) Ensure that you and everyone else, including children and pets, maintain distance. Take special care of children, who may find flame very interesting for playing.

Keep the water nearby.

Before you start a fire, check if there is enough water next to you. Bring a bucket of water or the hose and have them ready in case you have to extinguish the flame urgently.

Monitor the fire.

No matter how small or big the flame is, you or some other adult has to monitor the fire constantly. Use fire pits screens if they came with it. Don’t light the flame if it is windy.

“Grilling is an easy tradition to start at any age”.

 

- Barton Seaver, Chef

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Step 2 – Collect things for fuel.

Fire wood

After picking a safe place for your fire pit, you have to collect the necessary things you will need as fuel to enable a fire burning. This includes tinder, kindling, and firewood. The amount of collecting material depends on your fire pot's size and how long you want your flame to burn.

Tinder

Tinder will be the base for your fire. Those are easy combusted items: leaves, grass, straw, paper, wood shavings, tree bark, or any other easy lit and quick burn material.

Tinder has to be dry. Using dried orange peel and larger pieces of pine needles will add a pleasant smell to your flame.

Kindling

Kindling is smaller pieces of wood that will take the fire from the tinder. They can be made from sticks and twigs, dry, thin branches, dry sticks, or small wood pieces. Smaller pieces of kindling will quickly burn and hold the heat long enough before catching the logs. If possible, collect softwoods, small dry kindling (spruce, cedar, pine, poplar), and pinecones. If the kindling takes a while to catch fire, add more tinder as a fuel.

Firewood

Suitable firewood is the primary fuel for your heat. Unlike kindling, we are using them to keep the fire burning longer. To do that, choose more significant pieces of hardwood logs: oak, birch, maple, beech, ash. Always use dry logs; the best will be appropriately seasoned firewood.

Match or Lighter

Finally, to light a fire, you will need one fire starter. You can use a lighter or matches. We do not recommend using flammable liquids like gas for this purpose.

Recommended Article: How To Start A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

Step 3 – Start a fire.

Person starting a fire in a fire pit

When you have collected everything, begin to build a fire. There are various methods to do this. The easiest, fastest, and most common is “teepee.”

In the center of the fire pit, add one or two handfuls of tinder, kindling, or wood. Then add a few pieces of kindling and place it over. Arrange sticks around the tinder to meet in the center and look like a teepee or pyramid.

Get branches and add them too. Branches have to be close enough to each other to ensure smooth burning, but with gaps for airflow.

Through the gap, light the tinder very carefully and create the flame. When the kindling starts to burn and the heat becomes strong enough, it establishes teepee construction from the wood.

Begin with the smaller logs until the fuel catches fire, then add more fuel - bigger wood. If flames begin to wane, add more tinder and kindling. Once the fire is going strong, be close and watch it burning all the time to prevent any accident.

Step 4 – Put out the fire safely.

Putting out a fire

It is essential to safely put out the fire (2) and wait until everything is cool. Check it all the time. Please don’t leave it unattended until you are sure that no fire or hot embers remain.

To put out a fire you made into the back of the fire pits, stop adding the logs and other fuel and let it die down on its own. When only embers remain, get sand or slowly pour water and spread it over. To ensure that all the embers are soaked, stir the wet ashes with a shovel until everything is put out.

Recommended Article: How to Put Out a Grease Fire on a Grill

Conclusion - Starting A Fire in Pits

Fire pits and the smell of the wood -  all these things are necessary for spending one lovely evening with family or friends. Now when you know how to start a fire in your fire pit by using the correct fuel, you are one step closer.

Of course, you will need some practice, but you’ll soon see how it’s easy. Just follow those steps and remember - the most critical aspect of starting the flame is safety.


References:

  1. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/#what
  2. https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/US-Fire-Problem/Fire-causes/osGrills.pdf

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