How To Start A Fire In A Fire Pit (Quickly & Easily!)

How To Start A Fire In A Fire Pit

Fire pits are an all-American part of every summer, fall, and winter party. They are warm places where people congregate, and where memories are made. It’s as all-American as peanut butter and jelly. If you just built your own fire pit area, then it’s important to know how to use it. So, how do you start a fire in that new pit?

To start a fire in a fire pit, follow the instructions below:

  1. Position the fire pit in a safe location. 
  2. Load the bottom of the pit with tinder. 
  3. Make a teepee shape on top of the tinder with kindling. 
  4. Light the tinder. 
  5. Add firewood in a similar teepee structure once the fire has gone into full swing.
  6. Continue to keep the fire on by adding kindling and firewood as needed.

Whenever you’re playing with fire, it’s important to keep safety in mind. To help clear things up about firepit use, we made this guide that will help you stay safe.

Where To Put A Fire Pit

The position of your fire pit is going to make or break your safety. So, where should you put it? There are several things you need to keep in mind when choosing a fire pit spot:

  • Your fire pit will need to be away from any bushes, structures, or trees. A 10-foot distance is a minimum.
  • Place your pit on an even surface. A slanted surface can cause errant sparks to roll downhill or otherwise make the fire uneven.
  • Do not start a fire pit if it’s very windy outside. High winds are never a good sign for fire safety.
  • If you are digging a fire pit, make sure that the hole is surrounded by stones. The stones will help contain the fire.

Different Types Of Wood For A Fire Pit

If you’re new to camping and haven’t ever built a fire before, then you are probably wondering what the difference between tinder, kindling, and firewood is. It’s all sticks, right? Well, not quite. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Tinder is small, dry stuff like newspaper, cardboard, and dry leaves. This is stuff that is meant to catch fire pretty quickly.
  • Kindling is small-ish, dry twigs and sticks. These are not quite the size of logs, but they are still more substantial than tinder. They add structure to the fire.
  • Firewood refers to the big, thick logs that most people think about when they think of a fireplace. This is for long-burning usage.

How Do You Light The Fire?

In order to light the fire, you will need a fire starter. While you could go “full Boy Scout” and use a magnifying glass or two sticks to start your fire, it’s not easy to do. You’re better off using a lighter, a long lighter, matches, or a butane torch to start your fire. In reality, the source of the fire doesn’t matter. As long as it burns, you’re good to go.

How Do You Put Out Fire In A Fire Pit?

To safely put out any fire, you will need to douse the area with water. Using a stick or a fire pit poker, swirl the water around the fire pit, making sure that all firewood is properly left wet. Do not leave the area until the fire has stopped smoking and the ashes are cool to the touch.

Most people forget this, but fires can reignite up to eight hours after they’ve been put out if they’re not extinguished properly. Dousing the flames is the only way to make sure that you get the fire fully extinguished.

What Should You Look For In Firewood And Kindling?

When it comes to woods, the number one thing you should do is seek out dry wood. Wood that is still moist or freshly chopped from the tree probably won’t light as well. Most woods will smell amazing when added to a fire, so that is not an issue that you will need to worry about.

How To Make A Fire Pit Smell Good

If you’re like most people, the smell of a fire pit already is amazing. But, did you know that you can actually add fragrance to your pit? It’s true. To give your fire pit pals an extra alluring fire, add some of these items into the fire…

  • Apple Wood. This firewood gives your fire a lightly fruity scent.
  • Cinnamon Sticks. Anyone who has ever fallen in love with those “Harvest Candles” found during the autumn months will understand why this is a good idea.
  • Orange Peel. Orange peel (as well as lemon) can help give your fire a more citrusy fragrance. It pairs well with cinnamon.
  • Pine Cones. Make sure to use mature pine cones if you want to get that fresh, Christmassy smell to your fire. Younger pine cones that haven’t “opened up” yet have way too much sap to stay on fire.
  • Rosemary. Rosemary adds a nice herbal touch to the fire.

How Do You Stay Safe While You Enjoy A Fire Pit?

Now that you’ve built up a nice firepit, it’s important to make sure that you stay safe while you have fun. This means doing more than just making sure no one pours gas on it. To ensure that your fire pit doesn’t turn into a major problem, follow these tips below:

  • Never leave a fire unattended. A fire that isn’t attended and watched is a fire that can easily grow out of control. Even if you think it’s the safest fire in the world, it’s a bad idea.
  • Keep kids and pets away from the fire. Well, they don’t have to be totally away from it. However, they do need to be a safe distance away from the flames and you should keep an eye on them at all time.
  • Don’t use gas to try to speed up the fire’s burning. While it is a viable shortcut it’s not the safest thing to do.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close by at all times. Just in case the fire in question gets a little too healthy! Well, ideally you will also use water to douse the flames when you’re done enjoying a fire pit.
  • Always remember the magic numbers. If the fire starts to get out of control, grab a phone and call 911.

Related Questions

What should you use to line the bottom of a fire pit?

Many people use sand, glass shards, or similar materials to line their fire pits. However, this is not safe. Many of these materials will start to spark or even explode when exposed to high temperatures. This can lead to injury for people who are nearby, not to mention fire getting flung into places it doesn’t belong.

The better option is to line your fire pit’s bottom with stones that are graded for fireproofing, such as lava rocks or lava glass.

What is the best type of brick for a firepit?

Not all bricks are considered to be good for firepit building. The best type of brick to use is kiln-fired brick. This is brick that has been heated to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit as a part of its creation. However, if you do not have kiln-fired bricks, there are other options. Paver bricks are also deemed to be safe for fire use.

If you are unsure whether a brick should be safe to use, the best thing you can do is see if it’s graded as fireproof. This will tell you all you need to know.

What type of stones should never be used in a fire pit?

While a lot of stones can be placed in and around fire pits, some just aren’t good for the job. Any type of porous rock that could contain water should not be allowed near your fire pit. If water gets contained in the rock, it’s possible for the rock to shatter from the water expanding inside of it.

In most cases, this can lead to a popping noise. However, it is possible to have an explosion so powerful that the rock’s fragments could injure people around them. Don’t let this happen to you!

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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