Want to impress family and friends with your fire pit starting skills? Read to find out how to start the perfect fire in a fire pit.

Nothing is better than sitting around a warm wood burning fire after a long day. It’s a great way to unwind, spend time with friends, and create cozy memories.

But before you can start enjoying your relaxing evening…

…you need to know how to start a fire and make sure it last throughout the night.

Learning how to start the perfect fire is not as hard as you might think. In fact, after reading this article we are confident that you won’t have to rely on lighter fluid or flammable liquids to get your fire started.

People gathered around a wood burning fire

Fire Pit Safety

Before you even start your fire, it’s critical to keep safety as your number 1 priority. Fire pit safety is extremely important and if you follow the best practices then you can prevent avoidable damages.

Some tips to keep your fire pit safe include:

  • Start your fire on an even surface to avoid fire escaping.
  • Place your fire pit at least 10 feet from any tree, home, fence, or structure.
  • Avoid building a fire in windy conditions.
  • Maintain a proper distance and keep a close eye on children and pets.
  • Don’t use propellants or any other dangerous, toxic products.
  • Always monitor your fire no matter how big the flame is.

For more helpful tips make sure to check out Nationwide’s complete fire pit safety list.

Are you ready to start the perfect fire and listen to the calming sounds of crackling firewood throughout the night? Let’s get started…

An example of what your flame will look like when you properly start a fire in a fire pit.

The 4 Steps to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit

  1. Preparation

Once you picked a safe location for your fire, it’s time to gather the necessary items. Don’t worry, the list isn’t too long, and everything is easy to find.

Here is everything you will need to start a fire:

  • Fire Starter

There are many different fire starters for you to choose from. The most common types include kitchen lighters and matches, which will get the job done but can be tedious.

You can also use an electric arc or a butane torch lighter. Most people don’t have these sitting around their house, but they are much more effective when starting a fire in a fire pit and are relatively cheap to buy.

  • Tinder

Tinder is what you’ll use to start your fire. Tinder can be anything from leaves, pines cones, newspaper, or tree bark. If it’s dry and non-toxic it can be used to start your fire.

When we start a fire in a fire pit, we like to use this homemade fire starters list by Cool of the Wild. They have many different homemade tinder options that will effectively get your fire started.

  • Kindling

These are dry sticks that will burn long enough to get your firewood going.

The most effective sticks and twigs are usually softwoods like pine, cedar, poplar, and spruce.

Start a fire in a fire pit by using dry, softwood kindling like these twigs.

  • Firewood

Logs are the foundation of your fire and will keep it burning long into the night.

The best type of firewood includes hardwoods like maple, oak, ash, and birch. Make sure that they are properly seasoned and stacked before using.

Use dry, seasoned firewood to start a fire in a fire pit

Now that you have all the materials you need, it’s time to start your perfect fire.

  1. Start Your Fire

Here comes the part you’ve been waiting for, starting a fire in a fire pit without any lighter fluid or harmful chemicals.

Let’s break down how to start a fire in a fire pit by each step:

  1. First, make a pile in the bottom center of your fire pit with your tinder. Generally, this pile should be about the size of your palm.
  1. Next, grab your kindling and place it directly above your tinder at a 35-degree angle so it looks like a pyramid or tee-pee. Make sure your kindling structure is close enough together, while still leaving small gaps for air flow.
  1. Then, take your fire starter and light your tinder pile. Once your kindling starts burning, it’s time to place your firewood.
  1. Finally, start placing your seasoned firewood in the fire pit. Your firewood placement should be a similar structure as your kindling, either a pyramid or tee-pee shape. Keep the firewood close enough so the fire stays concentrated, while leaving small gaps to maximize air flow.

Wood burning fire pit in the backyard.

  1. Maintain the Flame

Maintaining the fire in your fire pit is essential if you want to keep the flame burning strong throughout the night.

If your firewood is having trouble catching fire or the flame is burning out, try adding additional tinder and kindling.

Also, look at the condition of your firewood. If the logs are all black and crumbling or the flame is dying, rotate more firewood in to keep it burning.

Remember, always keep a close eye on your fire, add more dry tinder, kindling, or logs when needed, and don’t suffocate the flame.

  1. Put out a Fire in a Fire Pit

The party is calming down and you’re ready to call it a night after a starting and maintaining a successful fire in your fire pit. Now it’s time to put out the flame safely.

Here are some helpful steps to take when putting out a fire in a fire pit:

  • Grab a hose or water bucket and gently sprinkle water in the fire. Make sure you don’t dump or pour the water, which can damage your fire pit.
  • Once you are done sprinkling water and the fire has turned to embers, grab a shovel and mix the ash and embers around until you no longer hear any hissing.
  • Finally, gently touch the ash and if it is cool then properly dispose of the ash.

For a more extensive and in-depth guide, read our article on the 3 effective ways to put out a fire in a fire pit.

Ready to Start a Fire in Your Fire Pit?

Starting the perfect fire takes time to master, but with enough practice and by following the steps in this article you are one step closer to achieving a roaring flame.

Remember, safety is the most important aspect of starting a fire and it always helps to have fire pit tools by your side.

If your still looking for a great fire pit for your space, make sure to check out our premium selection of outdoor fire pits and read our fire pit buying guide so you can find the best fire pit for your space.

Now go outside, start your fire, and create cozy memories with family and friends. 

Fire pits

About the Author

Josh House
Josh House
Josh House is a digital marketer who has a passion for video production and a soft spot for a good pun. During a cool evening, you’ll find him aspiring to build the perfect fire while strumming campfire songs on his guitar all night long.

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