Sitting by a merrily blazing outdoor fire in a fire pit is a pleasant experience for many of us, whether it’s roasting marshmallows or just enjoying the warmth with friends and loved ones. In this blog post, we tell you exactly how to start such a fire including the safety precautions to follow to avoid injury to yourself or others.
First of all, collect all the materials you will need to start your fire. These fall into three categories: tinder (things like newspaper, straw, pine needles), kindling (thin twigs and sticks), and fuel – the latter consists of the larger firewood that will actually keep your fire going. Make sure it is dry and not green wood – wood that has too much moisture will not burn properly. Take enough tinder, kindling, and fuel to ensure the fire remains burning for the length of time you require. A useful rule of thumb to employ is that one large dry log will burn for about an hour.
Next, lay all the materials that will make up the fire. Start with the tinder, placing several layers of straw, dried grass, newspaper etc in the center of the fire pit. Then place several pieces of kindling over and around the tinder to form a sort of tent or tepe, with the sticks meeting in the center of the pit above the assorted tinder.
Now set the tinder alight using a match, and wait for the flame to spread from the tinder to the kindling.
Once the kindling is burning, you can start to ‘add fuel to the fire’! Begin initially with small pieces of fuel, placing them over the kindling. At this point, the kindling will collapse into the tinder – in turn, this process will result in the creation of hot embers needed to keep the fire burning.
As the smaller pieces of fuel burn up, starting adding extra and larger pieces of fuel. Also, add extra kindling and tinder as necessary to keep the flames alight until the fuel catches on fire.
Monitor the fire at all times, never let it get out of control and never let it die-out from lack of fuel. If the fire starts to wane, add more fuel and kindling. If the fire grows bigger than you would like it to be, let it die down a bit by not adding any extra fuel until it gets smaller.
Following these steps, you can keep your fire going indefinitely (as long as there is enough fuel about!). How about when you want to put the fire out though? In this case, you simply stop adding fuel and it will die a natural death, it shouldn’t take any more than an hour. When the fire is almost quenched and there are only embers remaining, smother the remains of the fire with sand and dirt.
And there you have it! Starting, maintaining, and quenching your own fire in an outside fire pit is an easy, straightforward process. Don’t let the fear of being ‘that person’ who starts a forest fire in their local national park deter you – anyone can successfully run a fire pit campfire by following these simple steps. Have fun!