How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit

Whether you’re camping, setting up at the beach or simply relaxing in your own garden, there’s nothing better than soaking in the warm glow of a roaring fire pit.

If you’re ready to do just that, but aren’t quite sure where to start, then below we’ll look at how you can start your own fire in a fire pit.

What is a Fire Pit?

Let’s start by discussing what exactly a fire pit is. As the name suggests, a fire pit is a pit for fire and nowadays there are two key types of versions to consider.

The first is an immobile structure or pit that is built into and around the ground. Normally this can either be a brick structure or just a hole in the ground. The complexity is entirely up to the owner or builder.

The second, more common version nowadays, is the mobile fire pit. This is usually an iron cast structure, designed to stand freely whilst holding and burning wood, coals or anything else. They will come in all manner of designs, shapes and sizes but you’ll commonly see a bowl-like structure with spokes or legs to hold it above the ground.

Some of these mobile fire pits will also come with a detachable lid which can be used to shield your fire from the wind and elements, or it can be used to quickly extinguish the fire when you’re finished with it.

Fire Pit Safety

Before we discuss how to start a fire in a fire pit, we first need to discuss safety. Whenever you’re dealing with fire, safety always needs to be your number one priority.

If you neglect safety, you can get badly burnt or damage your property.

Rule one is not to burn anything explosive or flammable. Some people may be tempted to help their fire with petrol, but this is dangerous and can cause hospitalization. The same can be said with aerosols, electrical products etc.

The only thing that should ever be burnt in any fire put is firewood – clean, dry, seasoned wood – or coal.

If you ever need to move or manage your fire, make sure you use tongs or wear fireproof clothing – particularly gloves!

If you’re using a fire pit in a new state, country, or other governing body to the one you live in, check the local laws surrounding outdoor fires, especially in dense or built-up residential areas. Something that may be perfectly legal where you live might not be permitted elsewhere to please take heed.

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit

Step 1: Clean it

The first step to starting a fire in a fire pit is to ensure it’s clean and ready to use.

Burning in a dirty pit can create excess smoke, and lighting a new fire on top of old ashes can create trouble if there are unseen items buried within the old fire.

The fire pit doesn’t need to be spotless, but always empty out the contents of the previous fire.

Step 2: Use Tinder

After cleaning, to start your fire, you will need some kind of tinder.

Tinder is a dry material that lights easily, but the flame won’t last long. However without tinder, the fire won’t spread to the rest of the fire pit.

For tinder, you can use anything dry and easy to light, such as dry leaves, straw, hay, or old newspapers or junk mail.

Step 3: Add Kindling

The flame will spread onto the kindling when you light the tinder. Only when the kindling is hot will the main firewood also become hot and start to burn.

Kindling is also small but slightly bigger than tinder. It can retain heat better than tinder can.

The best kind of kindling is dried sticks and twigs. You can also use an axe to cut large firewood pieces into small kindling pieces. But only do this if you’re comfortable using an axe in a safe manner.

Step 4: Add suitable Firewood

On top of the tinder/kindling combination, you will want to add your solid dry and seasoned firewood. These are the large pieces of wood that will emit the most heat and light, and make the fire pit the enjoyable experience that it is.

Arrange the firewood into a pattern with good ventilation (normally a cross, # or X shape). If you pack the wood tightly, there will not be enough oxygen to get the fire going.

We would recommend putting them into a # shape. But, some people prefer to put it into a teepee. Whatever shape you want, just be sure there is enough space for oxygen to freely circulate through it.

Step 5: Lighting the fire

Now after building, it’s time to light the tinder.

At first, getting tinder hot might take some time. Getting a flame is easy, but getting that flame hot enough to reach the kindling is easier said than done. Many people like to gently blow on the small flame to provide it with the oxygen it needs to spread.

Once the tinder is hot enough, it will light up the kindling, which will in turn light the firewood.

Step 6: Maintaining the fire

During the fire, keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t die out or become dangerous.

If you notice it dying, add more wood to keep it going. And move some logs around if there is a lack of oxygen between them.

Step 7: Killing the fire

If and when you’ve had enough, you should start putting out in a slow and controlled fashion. Wait for the flames to gradually die, then use some water to help speed up this process.

When the fire has died down to embers, use a poker to move them, so the can heat disperse quickly and easily. Use a shovel to flip the embers. Keep flipping them until there is no more steam.

If you want to use the fire pit again the next night, sprinkle them with water, but don’t soak them.

As we said, fire pits are perfect additions to the garden, campsite or beach but it’s important to understand the mechanics behind a safe and proper fire pit fire.

We hope this helps, and for everything else home heating stick with