Starting a Wood Fire in a Fire Pit

July 2, 2020 11:52 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There are few things more satisfying than a backyard bonfire in a wood fire pit on a pleasant summer evening. But if you’re new to owning a fire pit, you may or may not know how to properly start a fire.

The good news is the process is quite simple. You only need four items to get a fire going: a lighter, tinder, kindling and firewood. Let’s take a look at the process you should follow for burning wood in your fire pit in Seattle, WA:

  • Tinder: Tinder is any kind of dry material that will light quickly, burn hot and fast and get your kindling to start burning as well. Usually this will be dry leaves, paper or wood shavings. This is the base of your fire, and thus should be placed first.
  • Kindling: Kindling is the smaller sticks and twigs you’ll use, which will keep the fire burning long and hot enough for your wood to start on fire. You should lay the kindling out in a teepee formation, leaving a small opening at the top to allow for good airflow so the fire will burn well. The smallest kindling should be at the center, with larger pieces further away.
  • Firewood: The next step is to add your larger pieces of firewood around the teepee. Depending on the size of your fire pit, you might use anywhere from three to eight or more logs.
  • Light it up: Finally, once your teepee is fully assembled, use your lighter (or matches) to light the tinder pile. The tinder will catch quickly, and burn long enough to ignite the kindling. The kindling will then burn hot enough to catch the rest of the wood.

Your teepee will eventually fall, but you can easily add additional logs to the pile by that point, as the structure will be strong and the fire will be hot.

Some notes about the wood

Sounds easy, right? It is—but there are a few other tips you should keep in mind to help you get the best results out of your backyard bonfire.

The first consideration is the kind of wood to use. Hardwoods usually provide the best fuel options as they’ll last longer, but they may take longer to catch fire. Softwoods (pine, fir, cedar) make great fuel, but will likely burn faster and put of more smoke. These usually are good fire starters, and you can then add hardwoods like oak, maple or ash later on to keep the fire burning.

It’s also important to consider moisture. If the wood isn’t fully dry, it’s going to be harder to start it up right away, and you’ll also likely notice pops, cracks and sparks. You’re less likely to have this problem with hardwoods than with softwoods. Kiln-dried woods avoid this issue altogether.

How long you can expect the wood to last will depend on the type of wood, but if you start with softwood and keep adding hardwood, you can expect to use four or five logs every couple hours.

For more tips about fire pits and wood burning in Seattle, WA, contact the team at Custom Fire Art today.

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