How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit 


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Are you ready to put your backyard fire pit to good use? Learn how to start a fire and maintain a white-hot flame for hours with this step-by-step guide. Don’t worry! It’s a lot easier than you think. 

1. Collect All Necessary Supplies 

Before you get too ahead of yourself, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies for building and maintaining your fire. Otherwise, the flame may run out of fuel and extinguish itself completely. 

Save yourself the trouble of starting over by collecting tinder, kindling and fuel. Tinder includes small, dry materials that ignite easily, like newspapers, dry pine needles, lint and dead grass. Small sticks or cardboard should act as kindling while larger logs will serve as fuel. If you think you’ll need a pyro-boost, a little bit of lighter fluid might come in handy, too. 

2. Lay the Fire

Once you have all your supplies in one place, it’s time to lay the fire. Pile a few handfuls of tinder in the middle of your pit. Lay a few pieces of kindling on top in a teepee fashion. This way the flames travel upward and completely envelope the tinder when you go to light it. 

If you’re using lighter fluid to get your fire blazing fast, remember to add it before striking your match. The ingredient becomes a major safety hazard and burn risk if applied directly to a flame. 

3. Light It Up 

Light a match or, if you’re flexing your survival skills, use a lens or flint and steel combo to set fire to your tinder. Once the kindling is burning, carefully place small fuel logs on top. One should rest adjacent to the other to allow airflow. 

Eventually, the small logs will collapse over the tinder, at which point you can add larger logs. Add additional pieces as the smaller ones burn up until you have a decent campfire raging in the pit. 

4. Tend and Enjoy  

Last, but certainly not least, tend your fire by adding additional tinder and fuel to your heart’s content. Place the spark screen on top to protect your clothes and surrounding patio furniture from being singed. Then, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Bask in the warm glow, roast marshmallows over the flames or make hobo pies in the embers. You can even position a grill or hot stone on top to make everything from pizza to popcorn. Keep an eye on the fire at all times to ensure everyone’s safety and maintain a satisfactory size and temperature. If people are inching closer, it’s probably time to add more fuel!

When the Party’s Over

A large log should burn for about an hour, so you should stop fueling the flame well before the party’s over or you’re ready to turn in for the night. Giving it enough time to burn down will ensure there are only smoldering embers or ash at the very end. 

When you’re ready to put out your fire completely, spread out the ashes and slowly pour some water over them. Alternatively, you can smother them with a bucket of sand or dirt. Use a shovel to stir the mixture until the ashes cool. Then, you can scoop them out and toss them into your compost pile to add extra nutrients to your lawn or garden. 

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