Making a safe fire in a teepee requires using a flame-resistant interior liner. The liner, a cloth wall that hangs from the top of a teepee's poles down to the ground, helps control the air flow inside the teepee and channels the smoke from a fire up toward the smoke hole, similar to the way a chimney draws smoke out of an indoor fireplace. Occupants should never let the flames reach more than a foot high.
The fire should sit directly under the smoke hole of the teepee, and occupants should never leave the fire unattended. As when building a fire in any space, the occupants should have a fire extinguisher and water on hand at all times. When building a fire in a teepee, always use well-dried wood, such as oak, that is unlikely to pop in a fire. Some teepee retailers recommend not building a fire at all in a teepee of less than 16 inches in diameter for safety reasons.
Over time, the smoke from a fire within a teepee turns the area around the smoke hole black. This does not damage the teepee; in contrast, it works to season the material, making it more waterproof and durable.