How Do You Start a Fire in a Fire Pit?


Quick Answer

To start a fire in a fire pit, ignite the tinder, add kindling, and then carefully stack wood on top. Stacking the wood properly makes a fire that starts easily and burns well.

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Full Answer

  1. Gather the fuel

    Gather three types of wood: tinder, kindling and split logs. Tinder can be anything that catches fire easily, such as dry twigs, grass, leaves or pine needles. Kindling is made up of small sticks 1 inch in diameter or less. Larger pieces of wood serve as your main fuel. Seasoned hardwood is best, and split wood catches fire more easily than whole logs.

  2. Create a heat pocket

    Place a few handfuls of tinder in the center of the fire pit. Place the kindling over the tinder as if you're building a tipi, using the smallest pieces of kindling first. Strike a match, and ignite the tinder. Insert additional tinder as the fire increases, blowing lightly to speed up the process. Soon a glowing pocket of heat develops.

  3. Surround the pocket with wood

    Surround this pocket of heat loosely with the smallest pieces of seasoned wood on the top and sides. The pocket continues to be a core of heat at the bottom center of the fire. As the wood burns, embers fall into this core to maintain the fire. Remember that fire needs oxygen to burn; leave some space between logs so the fire doesn't go out.

  4. Stack the wood higher

    Stack your wood using either the tipi or log-cabin method. The tipi method is good for smaller fire pits. To use this style, lean each log against another in a cone shaped like a tipi. This contains a small area at the center for your pocket of heat. If you have a larger fire pit, use the log cabin method. Lay two pieces of split wood parallel to each other a short distance apart. Add another layer with two parallel logs perpendicular to the first two. Continue adding layers as desired, maintaining your pocket of heat at the center. Add wood to the top as necessary to maintain the fire.

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