Fire pits are awesome. They add to any outdoor space and provide a cozy way for family and friends to gather, talk, sing, tell ghost stories, or make smores.
Fire pits also add value to your home as they are an outdoor space centerpiece that serves as a living space extension.
The only problem is you have to light fire pits before the fun can get going. This may seem a little challenging for a novice camper or fire builder.
Don’t worry. Many options exist to start the fire. You just need to put some survival skills to the test to figure out what is the best way for you. Soon, you will have a way to start a fire that suits you best.
The Wood to Use
The first thing to do is make sure you have plenty of dry wood to use. It also needs to be seasoned wood for the easiest fires to ignite. Being seasoned means it has been sitting out for a while. You don’t want fresh, green wood because it won’t burn.
The best woods for fire pit burning are hardwoods. That means oak and other dense woods. These types of woods are cleaner to burn, create less smoke and burn longer than other types of wood. they also burn hotter, so you will generate more warmth for those around the fire.
Wondering how to get the fire going? Below are some ideas.
How to Light a Fire Pit Without Kindling
Kindling wood is perfect for starting a blaze in the fire pit, but what if you don’t have any? No fear, you can use other things that serve the purpose as well as kindling.
Check your recycling pile to see if you have a bunch of old newspapers you are willing to give up. However, don’t just throw them in the pit for the fire. You should roll several newspaper sheets together into a roll to make a form of kindling log.
“Here’s a hint: rolling it together will increase the burning time, ensuring other logs have a chance to catch fire.”
Twigs, Pinecones, Bark
Look around your yard for small twigs and other things like pinecones. Pinecones are a form of bark, so it works well in place of kindling.
Another option is to cut some bark off the logs you plan to burn in the pit. Bark burns quickly and can be used to start other wood pieces in the fire pit.
If you don’t mind spending a little money and are at the store, you can buy firestarters to make sure your blaze kicks in. The smaller versions work just as well as the complete logs and a box of the smaller firestarters is economically a better value than the larger logs.
How to Start a Fire Pit with Lighter Fluid
Lighter fluid provides an easy way to light your fire pit blaze. However, you must be safe with it. One big no-no is to use lighter fluid on a fire that is already going. Such a move will cause the flame to flare up and could injure you or others standing nearby.
The expert way to start a flame with lighter fluid is to douse the wood with it beforehand after you stack it on the pit. You still need to use some paper underneath the stack for easy lighting. Use a lighter to light the paper or throw a match on it. All of it will catch fire.
How to Start a Fire Pit without Lighter Fluid
Lighter fluid is an easy way to start a nice blaze in your fire pit. Even so, you don’t absolutely need lighter fluid to start a fire. One of the easiest ways involves two ingredients.
That means you need to return to your newspaper recycling bin. You can start a fire using newspapers and vegetable oil. This option requires you to crumble your newspaper into tight, little balls. Do this using one sheet at a time. This makes it easier for the newspaper to burn after it’s soaked in vegetable oil.
While the newspaper is a good option, you can really use any time of paper product. It may be a good time to get rid of all files that you would normally shred. Next, saturate the newspaper balls with vegetable oil. Be generous. You can either spray it on or pour it on. Even a spray-on oil like Pam works.
Wait a few minutes for the newspaper to absorb the oil before you light it. The oil will allow the paper to burn longer which provides more time for other wood pieces to catch fire. Be sure to use plenty of newspaper balls when you light the fire.
That way you will have plenty of chances to get it lit without needing to repeat the process.
Stacking Paper With Wood
When using newspaper, either the rolled version or the oil-soaked balls, be sure to place it correctly in the fire pit before trying to light it.
“The paper should go on the bottom with your wood on top. The wood should be stacked in such a way to allow space and air from your paper to rise in between the wood pieces.“
Some people make the stacked wood in the shape of a teepee, but you don’t need to be exact in that. Any configuration is fine as long as you stack the wood where the flames from the paper can rise between, catching the other wood ablaze.
With either of these methods, light the bottom newspaper in several places with a lighter or match. It should be fairly easy to light.
How to Start a Fire Pit with Charcoal
Charcoal is something most think of using strictly for the grill, but it’s a good option for starting a fire in the pit as well. Charcoal is a wood composite that has already been burned in a space without oxygen. That makes it the perfect substance to burn for a long time, creating a good source of heat.
Plus, it allows you to cook in your fire pit as it does last longer than wood stacks and distributes heat evenly. A terrific thing about charcoal is that it doesn’t emit a smoky odor, so a smoke flavor will be in food but won’t overpower it. Some other good things about charcoal include:
- It lights easily.
- It maintains a hot temperature throughout the entire time you use it.
- It is available everywhere and can be bought in grocery stores as well as hardware and big box stores.
To use charcoal in your fire pit, put a layer of wadded newspaper sheets on the bottom, followed by a layer of charcoal. It helps to soak the charcoal in lighter fluid, but many charcoal brands light well without any additional help.
Light the newspaper and some of the coals, scattered around the pit. It will catch fire easily, but you may have to light several areas to get all of it lit.
How to Start a Fire Pit in Windy Conditions
Wind makes starting a fire more challenging and more dangerous. There are several things you can do to get the sparks going without having them fly all over the patio and yard. Here are some tips to handle a fire on a windy day.
Get a windscreen. These are sold at outdoor and sporting goods stores. It is a flat, large screen that is used to block the wind. You set up around the fire pit before you light it.
Use the teepee method of stacking wood. Putting the wood on the fire as a teepee makes for great wind resistance. Just don’t stack it too high or it may get out of control.
Change the wind. It sounds weird but blowing on the fire from the opposite direction of the wind blowing works. Doing this allows more oxygen to go into areas that previously had no air. This allows the fire to grow bigger and better.
Other things to remember about starting fire pit blazes include making sure you have plenty of wood on hand before the fire gets going. Some wood burns faster than others, so you may need some extra logs depending on how long you plan on being outside.
Your firepit will need cleaning regularly. Keeping it clean will help keep blazes going when you start new fires and will make sure everyone stays safe.
Ending the Night Safely
Whatever method you choose, be sure to put out your fire before you head inside for the night. This is especially important in windy seasons. Put out your fire by putting water on it and then pouring some dirt over the ashes.
Knowing a little bit about starting a fire in your pit will go a long way to making your time doing it easier and helps your time outside flow smoothly whether you are enjoying your firepit alone or with others. It also helps build your camping confidence and helps keep everyone safe.
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All the best
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