How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit: A Beginner’s Guide

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It’s been a long journey looking for the best fire pit for your patio or backyard. You finally got what you wanted and are ready to use it for memorable experiences. However, before you can sit down to relax, you need to know how to start a fire that’ll last throughout your party.

There are different approaches to getting a fire started. Here, we will take you through the steps on how to start a fire in a fire pit.

Some fire pits are easy to use and light up, while others will require a little more effort. Propane fire pits may be easier to light than wood-burning ones. Regardless of the fuel source, starting a fire in a fire pit shouldn’t be an excruciating affair.

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit: 5 Tips to Follow

Safety First

Before everything else, it’s critical to check that you have safety measures in place. First, check the provision of the local laws for fire pits. In some jurisdictions, the use of wood-burning fire pits is not allowed.

Another caution is to observe include placing your fire pit on a flat and even surface. Place your fire pit a safe distance away from trees, fences, or any other wooden structure. Ensure you also keep a close eye on children and pets and prevent them from coming too close to the fire pit.

Avoid building a fire in blustery conditions, and no matter how big or small a flame is, always keep an eye on it. You don’t want fire sparks escaping and causing havoc without your notice. Don’t use explosives or other toxic products near a fire.

Gather the Necessary Materials

For a wood-burning fire pit, you need to collect kindling, fire lighter, tinder, and logs or firewood. Tinder is the collection of material you’ll use to start the fire. This can be newspaper, leaves, pine cones, or tree bark and helps get the fire quickly burning.

Kindling is the collection of sticks and twigs that burn better than logs when you start a fire. Once ignited, they burn long enough to keep the fire pit logs ablaze. They include softwoods like cedar, poplar, and spruce.

Lastly, you need seasoned firewood, which is wood that has been cut and dried completely. Its moisture content should be below 25%, and the drying process can take between six months and three years. Seasoned firewood is the best to use as it catches fire fast, stays lit, and produces little or no smoke.

Some excellent seasoned firewood sources are maple, oak, birch, and beech firewood. You can chop, stack, and season wood in your backyard, or you can source from suppliers. Getting the best-seasoned fuel might come at a high price, but this differs from one supplier to another.

Starting the Fire

Place adequate tinder material at the center of the fire pit and assemble the kindling directly above it. Place it in a teepee fashion, where the sticks encircle the tinder while meeting at the center above the tinder.

Find a gap between the kindling and light the tinder pile using a lighter of choice. Let the kindling start burning and begin placing firewood in the fire pit. Be careful not to put too much wood at once because that can smother out the fire.

Placement of the logs should also be in a teepee position, leaving enough gaps for sufficient airflow. Keep adding tinder and kindling as necessary until the primary source of fuel begins to burn.

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit

Alternative Approach

You may not have enough tinder or kindling to start a fire. Another effective way of setting up a  fire pit is to have a dedicated fuel line running to the fire pit. It should also be fitted with a safety valve and a key for turning the operation on and off.

Furthermore, you should have a log grate that cradles the firewood above the log lighter. This gives enough room for oxygen flow for a safe and clean flame.

When all this is in place, place the firewood on the grate in the fire pit. The gas should be off at this time.

Once the logs are set up, carefully turn the valve key to allow the gas to flow into the log lighter. It’ll be emitted through the available precision drill portholes.

Use a match or long-stemmed lighter to ignite a flame, placing it just under the center of the device. Switch off the gas and remember to remove the key immediately once the wood starts burning.

Remember to check with your local fire codes before using this natural gas or propane-fueled igniter. For your safety, it’s recommended to have a gas professional install the device on your fire pit.

Putting Out the Fire

At the end of your party, the fire must be extinguished. An hour before the end of the party or session, stop adding more wood to the fire. Allow it to start going out on its own.

To ensure you don’t leave any hot embers burning, smother the fire with dirt or sand. The best thing would be to use water to soak the embers. Stir the water into the embers and mix with a shovel to ensure they’re saturated.

Be careful not to let pets and children come near the fire pit when putting out the fire. Depending on the construction of the fire pit, after each use, wash it, air dry it, and store it away safely.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to start a fire in a fire pit and keeping it going isn’t hard. With time, you’ll soon get a grip on what works for you, and the process won’t be so tasking. Reduce the time it takes to get the fire up and running by gathering everything you need before getting started.

Tinder and kindling materials will come in handy to make your work easier. Stockpile enough of them to ensure they don’t run out before the wood has started burning properly.

Remember to keep your safety and those around you at the forefront. Water, long tongs, and protective gloves should be kept nearby. For portable fire pits, set it on a level surface and away from objects that might catch fire.

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