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How To Start A Fire In A Fire Pit SIMPLE Step By Step With Photos

by Lianne Jones June 09, 2022

How To Start A Fire In A Fire Pit

Whether you want to roast marshmallows, or create a warm social area for the family in the backyard, a fire pit makes a wonderful addition to your yard.

If you’ve never lit a fire before, and aren’t sure about how to do it in a fire pit, I’ve got you covered.

In this article, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to start a fire. So, next time you’re struggling with it, you know exactly what to do.

Let’s get started.

A Guide On How To Start A Fire In A Fire Pit

Equipment You Will Need

  • Tinder - Tinder are small pieces of dry wood ro debris that are very flammable and can be easily lit with a match. Tinder includes tree bark, pine needles, or even shredded newspaper.
  • Kindling - These are very small dry sticks or small pieces of wood that are used to build the base of your fire pit fire. Kindling is used to help set fire to your bigger logs later on. 
  • Wood Logs - Dry wood is best for starting a fire. To make the process easier, you will want a combination of large and smaller logs for the best, long burning fires. 
  • Long-Stemmed Matches - Long-stemmed matches make lighting your fire safer and they are widely available to purchase at most grocery stores.


Step One - Clean The Fire

Clean The Fire

Before lighting the fire pit, you will need to make sure it is clean and dry.

If there’s debris from previous fires, it’s fine provided that the leftover wood is neither wet or waterlogged.

Step Two - Add Your Tinder To The Fire Pit

Add Your Tinder To The Fire Pit

Once the fire pit is good to go, you need to add a generous pile of your tinder to the center of your fire pit.

Step Three - Layer Up Your Kindling

Layer Up Your Kindling

Once your tinder is in the fire pit, you will want to stack the smallest pieces of kindling that you have on top of it. 

You will want to make sure that you’re leaving enough room for the fire to breathe and grow.

Step Four - Light The Tinder

 Light The Tinder

Next, you will need to take one of your long-stemmed matches and set fire to the pile of tinder.

You will need to wait patiently for the flames to reach the stack of small pieces of kindling that you added to the fire pit.

Step Five - Add Larger Pieces Of Kindling

Add Larger Pieces Of Kindling

Once the small pieces of kindling are alight, it is time to start adding larger pieces of kindling. 

Keep adding more pieces of kindling until you’ve reached a healthy blaze.

Step Six - Add Small Logs To The Fire Pit

Add Small Logs To The Fire Pit

Once you have established a healthy, small fire, you can add a small log or two.

Be careful to not do this too quickly, as you don’t want to end up in a situation where you accidentally smother the small fire that you have worked hard to create.

Have patience, and allow these small logs to catch fire properly before you add any more logs to the fire pit.

Step Seven - Continue Adding Logs Of Wood To The Fire

Continue Adding Logs Of Wood To The Fire

Next, you will need to continue adding logs slowly to the fire until you have a healthy fire going in your fire pit.

Continue building your fire until you are happy with the size of it.

Step Eight - Open The Marshmallows

Open The Marshmallows

At this point, why not open the marshmallows and start making some s’mores? It doesn’t get much better than ooey, gooey melted marshmallows!

Step Nine - Continue Adding Logs When You Need To

Continue Adding Logs When You Need To

You will need to continue adding logs as and when you need to sustain the fire.

Depending on the size of the logs that you’re adding, this could be anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes.

Just see how quickly the logs are burning down and assess how many you need to add.

It’s also worth noting that how many logs you need to add will depend on how long you want the fire to last, so just play it by ear!

Step Ten - Sit Back & Enjoy The Fire

Sit Back & Enjoy The Fire

Last, but by no means least, enjoy the roaring fire you’ve made in your fire pit!

Tips When Starting A Fire In A Fire Pit

There are a few tips that you can bear in mind when it comes to lighting a fire if you’re struggling. These tips include but are not limited to:

Use Firelighters 

If you’re struggling to get your fire started, there’s absolutely no shame in using a firelighter. Firelighters are fuel tablets that are highly flammable and are designed to make starting a fire an easier process. 

They’re great to have in your stores when the conditions are tricky, as they can be set alight and used in conjunction with timber and kindling to make a roaring fire. 

The only thing to bear in mind when using firelighters is to be wary of how flammable they are, and to ensure that you keep them in a cool, dry place.

Always Use Dry Wood

While you might think it’s ideal to use any wood that you can find to make a fire, you will struggle to start a fire with damp or wet wood.

Not only will you have trouble getting the fire started, but in addition to this, damp or wet wood has the tendency to produce a lot more smoke and harmful by-products that actually pollute the air around you.

So, if you do manage to get it started, this isn’t the most environmentally friendly way to start a fire in your backyard.

Allow The Wood To Get Plenty Of Oxygen

Like I’ve mentioned above, you don’t want to smother your fire with too many logs or pieces of wood too quickly.

For a successful fire, you will want to make sure that you remain patient when it comes to adding your logs to the fire, as this will give the wood the oxygen that it needs to burn properly.

Once you have a healthy fire going, you can then begin to add more wood slowly. However, you should never jump the gun by adding too much too soon, as you’ll end up with a smothered fire!

Is It Difficult To Light A Fire In A Fire Pit?

How difficult you’ll find it to light a fire in a fire pit will largely depend on you and how much experience you have.

The tools that you have at your disposal, as well as the conditions you’re dealing with can also impact how difficult it is to light a fire.

For instance, if the fire pit is wet after a bout of rain, or if the conditions are windy, then you might struggle to light a fire more than if the conditions were more favorable to do so.

It’s also worth noting that the more experience that you gain lighting fires, the easier the process will become.

The more fires that you light, the more you will gain confidence in an array of different conditions, meaning you’ll be able to light a fire no matter the conditions. 

In Summary 

Hopefully after reading this article you have a better idea of how to start a fire in a fire pit.

Good luck and be safe lighting your fire in a fire pit!

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