How to start a fire pit? The Ultimate Guide

wood firepit with family

How to Start a Fire Pit – The Steps Needed

Starting a wood fire pit is not hard, but you must be safe while doing it. You should always start your fire with tinder in a small pile at the bottom of your fire pit. Then, put the kindling in a teepee structure. Carefully light it, and once the kindling starts burning, add your kiln-dried or seasoned split firewood pieces one at a time, ensuring proper airflow. Add more logs as the fire wanes, being careful because the logs within the fire may shift to throw embers outside the fire pit.

While that is the easy version, it might be hard for you to do this your first time. Therefore, here is a breakdown of each step to help you create the perfect fire in your firepit.

Preparing to Start the Wood Burning Fire Pit

Now that you know the basics of building a fire, there are a few other things to note. Before you start your fire, please be aware of your surroundings. Safety is a huge concern here, so the fire pit needs to be away from a structure and other fuel sources. If you live in an HOA, make sure to follow those rules for a fire pit. With that, you need to understand the local fire codes.

To properly get things started, you must gather the tinder and kindling, something to start the fire with (lighter or matches), and seasoned firewood. It’s also important to have access to a consistent water source for an emergency where the outdoor flame gets away from you.

You can also get some heat-resistant gloves and a pair of log tongs. That way, you can tend the fire in the backyard easily. Plus, you should consider the flow of air and wind to ensure that you don’t get hurt from an ember flying out of your fire pit.

What Is Tinder?

To light the fire pit, you want tinder that’s easily lit. It’s typically a quick-burning source of fuel that gets the kindling burning to get your fire going.

Tinder can be just able anything flammable, such as wood shavings, pine needles, newspaper, tree bark (birch bark might be the best), leaves, and more. While some people claim that a natural fire starter is the best, it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is as long as it’s dry when you use it for your outdoor fire pit.

While any material can work as a fire starter for the logs, most people go with paper. It’s easy to find, and often, paper can be “recycled” by using it as the starter in the fire pit. However, another great idea is to use dryer lint. With dryer lint and a toilet paper tube, you can easily get your fire pit fire going faster. Plus, you’ve already got those things around the house, so there’s no issue!

What’s Kindling?

Kindling includes any natural flammable fuel source that you burn to get the firewood started. Things like small wood cuts, twigs, branches, and sticks can burn long enough when ignited to get the tinder going and boost your fire pit’s efforts.

Typically, wood is the best choice. For example, you can get pine, cedar, spruce, and poplar. However, pine is often the best choice for kindling wood because it’s readily available; you probably have a pine tree or two in your backyard, so go ahead and use whatever has already fallen.

What’s Seasoned Firewood?

Seasoned firewood is just wood that’s been cut and then stacked in a special place so that it can dry. Once it has a moisture content of 25 percent, it’s considered dry firewood. However, 20 percent or lower is actually better.

This process takes anywhere from a few months to three years, though this depends on the type of wood you use. Make sure that you have properly seasoned firewood for the fire pits. That way, it lights up fast, stays burning for longer, burns cleaner and hotter, and doesn’t require as much kindling to get going.

Typically, beech, maple, oak, and birch make the best firewood options for the fire pit. However, you may need to shop around to get the best price and deal. Some areas charge more for high-end firewood because it’s used to heat homes and for other necessary needs. If you’re in a location that rarely uses wood for cooking and heating, it might be cheaper. In fact, delivery charges and prices can vary significantly between suppliers.

If these wood types aren’t readily available on your property, you may need to find a supplier that offers air-dried or kiln-dried firewood. Some people may have the wood available but don’t want to chop, stack, and season it themselves. They can also find different suppliers, who usually provide seasoned softwood for kindling.

What’s Kiln-dried Firewood?

Kiln-dried firewood is often produced by putting green wood in a kiln. This reduces the moisture content faster to the point where it can burn more efficiently.

Typically, the drying process kills any insects in the wood. For those who plan to store the firewood inside the house or in a garage, this could be a great thing.

Most suppliers don’t offer kiln-dried wood right now. If you want that, you should research options to find out what’s available in your area.

Firestarter Options

If you’re like many people, you get annoyed quickly when using kitchen lighters. They always seem to run out of fuel, can’t stay lit for long periods, and can’t be used outdoors when there’s wind at all.

Typically, fire starters must be great no matter what the weather conditions, such as a bit of moisture or a light wind. Generally, you should only be required to light your fire pit once. However, it’s still important to have a fire starter that works no matter what. That way, you get a good flame, don’t have to spend so long trying to get it lit, and can enjoy the light and heat from the fire pit.

While many people think that lighter fluid is a great choice, it often produces a high flame that doesn’t last long. With that, it’s expensive and can be dangerous when lighting the fire pit. Disposable lighters and even expensive ones don’t do well in the wind but can be good in other situations.

Matches are also harder to get going in the wind, but they work in a pinch. Ultimately, an electric arc or butane torch lighter is best for lighting up the fire pit. They work in all conditions and aren’t that expensive.

Those who want something that can be refilled with more gas should consider a butane torch lighter. It’s often inexpensive and reliable. Typically, fire pits aren’t that hard to light up, but if you use the wrong lighter, you could be stuck.

Starting the Fire, Maintaining It, and Putting It out Safely

Once you’ve got everything to start a fire in your fire pit, you can begin placing the tinder, kindling, and firewood in the right way to get your fire burning and keep it that way. Just make sure you focus on safety, such as keeping it away from other buildings and wetting the area around the fire pit in case the flames spread.

Steps to Start a Fire Pit Fire

Here are the steps to take to start a fire and have a wonderful outdoor adventure:

Step 1:

Gather together the tinder materials and put them in a pile in the center of your fire pit. The material should be about as big as your fist or that of an adult male.

Step 2:

Assemble your teepee-style frame with the kindling, and put it directly above the tinder that’s already positioned correctly. Place the sticks and twigs quite close together so that everything catches fire when the time is right. However, you should leave a few gaps for lighting and the appropriate flow of air.

Step 3:

Find the gap within the teepee between the pieces of kindling and light the tinder. You learned about different fire starters earlier, so choose the best one and go from there.

Step 4:

As the kindling starts burning, you can begin placing the firewood logs into the fire pit. Ensure that you use the right materials and placement, such as a log cabin, teepee, or pyramid stack.

Step 5:

Keep an eye on your fire, adding more tinder or kindling as necessary.

Putting out the Fire Safely

Once the party starts winding down, don’t add more wood to your fire. Instead, let it go out on its own. Safety is a huge concern, and fires are always sure to be hot.

When the fire has enough time, it starts to die down, which means the flame is a little less. Extinguish all of the embers by adding water to soak them or sand to smother them.

Once the fire pit ashes are cooled, which can take three days, dispose of them in your garbage cans. Make sure that the ashes are cooled thoroughly before putting them in the plastic bag. Otherwise, they can burn or melt the can.


While many people prefer outdoor gas fire pits, it’s often better not to use gas. Wood-burning fire pits give you the smells and heat you want without the dangers of gas.

Enjoying a backyard fire is great, but starting a fire pit fire can be a bit tricky. This step-by-step guide focuses on safety while helping you learn how to catch fire to the tinder and kindling. Now, you can start fires effortlessly and enjoy the flames.

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Adam Mors

Adam Mors

This blog is my attempt to share my expertise and knowledge with the rest of the world.

My main purpose is to assist as many individuals as possible, in making their outdoor areas look just as good and beautiful as they can – with only the greatest products.

About Me

My name is Adam Mors. This blog is my attempt to share my expertise and knowledge with the rest of the world.

My main purpose is to assist as many individuals as possible, in making their outdoor areas look just as good and beautiful as they can – with only the greatest products.

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and if you have any more queries, please do not hesitate to email me. 

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