How to light a fire pit?
Do you want to know how to light a fire pit?
If you do then you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve never owned a fire pit or lit a fire before then you may be wondering how to light a fire pit. Lighting one for the first time when you’ve never done it before can be a little daunting. Lighting a fire pit, however, is really straightforward so long as you follow some basic steps. If you follow these easy instructions you will ensure that your fire pit will light right first time every time without fail!
The main points of the lighting process are listed below and will cover each part in our step by step guide below.
- What will I need to light my fire pit?
- Setting up my fire pit
- How to light a fire pit?
- Keeping the flames going
- Putting the flames out
What will I need to light my fire pit?
There are certain items that you’ll need to get before you thing about lightning your fire pit.
A firelighter of some description to light it
There are a number of things that you can use to start the fire. These can include a disposable lighter, match or another type of lighter. Disposable lighters and normal matches will do the job but they can be a real pain as you can quite easily burn your fingers. You can also get long matches which are much better or long-nosed lighters which are much more useful as they both give some distance from the flame to avoid burning your fingers and allow you to get into gaps more easily.
Tinder is an easily lightable fuel source that is the main item that you will initially set light too in order to start your fire. The types of items used as tinder can include any of the following: newspaper, dry pine cones, dried bark, wood shavings, and even egg boxes or empty loo rolls. You can also use pre-made firelighters such as FireBuilder Natural Firelighters or Natural Eco Wood Firelighters.
Kindling is a term used for small and dry sticks and twigs or wood splinters which are small enough to get the fire going before you add larger logs. Popular types of wood include softwood and pine as they tend to burn quicker meaning that the fire will take quicker.
Seasoned firewood and logs are the main source of your fire and will keep it going long into the evening. Firewood has to be seasoned as it needs to be dry to burn for longer. Although you can burn softwoods, hardwoods are superior as they will last longer. The best hardwood for fire pits includes oak, ash and birch. We have lots more information in our best fuel for a fire pit article.
Although there are lots of different type of accessories people like to have next to their fire pit, the main two are a pair of fire tongs and a fire poker. These are essential to ensure you have a well stoked and fueled fire pit. Tongs are used to help you add additional logs and to move existing logs around the fire without burning your hands whilst a poker will allow you to break up any burning logs and again adjust the fire without burning yourself.
Finally, before you light a fire pit ensure you have suitable safety equipment nearby. This includes some way to extinguish the fire should you need too. We’d always suggest you have a fire extinguisher, bucket of sand or water nearby should the need arise.
Setting up my fire pit
Setting up your fire pit is a very important part of the process. Once you have your fire pit assembled you need to make sure it’s in a suitable location and is ready to be used.
Fire pits should be placed a safe distance away from buildings and other structures. They should also be well away from any flammable items and there should also be no overhanging trees or other objects.
Finally, you need to make sure your fire pit is located on a non-flammable base and that it is level and steady so that it cannot be knocked over.
How to light a Fire Pit Fire
There are various ways to light a fire pit and you’ll find each person may have slight differences on how they go about it. The important thing to remember is that a fire needs three things to survive, heat, fuel and oxygen!
Gather a handful of tinder and place it in the middle of the fire pit. If you are using newspaper then lightly crumple it, do not scrunch it into a tight ball as this will impede the lighting process.
Use your kindling to make a pyramid/tepee over the tinder leaving small air gaps around it which will allow air to get to the fire.
Use your chosen firelighter to light the tinder from the base of the pyramid/tepee and wait for the kindling to catch light. Once the kindling begins to burn you can add more until you have a nice blaze going.
Once you have a nice blaze from the kindling you can start to add some seasoned firewood. Place the wood around the kindling in a similar structure, creating a pyramid/tepee. Don’t forget to leave sufficient air gaps as this will help the fire grow. As the fire takes you can then add further logs when required.
Keeping the flames going
Don’t forget to inspect the fire occasionally as you may find you need to adjust it by rotating the firewood. Finally add additional seasoned firewood throughout your evening, sit back and enjoy!
Putting the flames out
Part of owning and using a fire pit is knowing how to safely put it out after you have used it. Just leaving a fire pit whilst you go to bed is not an option as it can be extremely unsafe and could lead to a fire.
After you have been using your fire pit for some time you will know roughly how long your chosen fuel source will last and will be able to plan winding down your fire.
In the meantime here are some useful tips on how to put the fire out:
- Wait until your fire consists only of embers then spread them out and wait, eventually, the fire will go out by itself
- Grab a bucket of sand to smother the remaining embers
- Use water carefully to extinguish the flames and drown the embers
- Remember to follow your fire pit manufacturers’ instructions as adding a bucket of water all at once can damage your fire pit, instead gently sprinkle water over the fire until there are no embers left on fire. If your fire is still steaming then you need to continue to add water until this stops
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