Father and Son Starting a Fire at a Campsite

Are you the new owner of a backyard fire pit? Are you excited for nights with friends and family around the fire? We know you are excited – and we know that not everyone was a Boy Scout, Cub Scout or Girl Scout – and not everyone knows the best way to start a fire. Fox River Fire Rings is here to help with a quick overview of how to start a fire in your backyard fire pit.

What Do You Need to Start a Fire in Your Backyard Fire Pit?

First thing is first when you want to start a fire in your backyard fire pit – you need the right materials to create a fire and the tools to put out your fire at the end of the night or in an emergency. Here is a list of the materials and tools you will need when you start your fire.

  • Dry Firewood – Dry and seasoned firewood is a necessity when you start a fire. To be dry and seasoned, wood must sit and dry for two to three years for optimum burning conditions. Here is a better look at different types of firewood you can use in your fire pit.
  • Tinder – Tinder is an easily flammable material used to ignite the flames and light your smaller kindling. Wood shavings, dry grass, leaves, tree bark, poplar cotton, cattail fluff and dryer lint are all great options for tinder. Artificial fire starters can help if you still struggle to start your fire. 
  • Kindling –  Kindling is flammable material that is larger than your tinder and can build the fire and flames until the fire is large enough to add your dry, seasoned firewood. Popular kindling options include cedar bark and small twigs.
  • Fire Starter – You have the materials you need and now you need a way to create a spark. Matches, flint and steel, a lighter or a ferro rod are all great ways for you to light your fire.  
  • Fire Extinguisher – When fire spreads, it can spread fast in optimum conditions – especially when it is dry and windy. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand to quickly extinguish the fire in an emergency.
  • Shovel and Bucket – When you put your fire out for the night, sand or dirt is a great way to extinguish the flames and a bucket and shovel may come in handy. A bucket can be used with water, dirt or sand to put out the fire and the shovel can be used to bury the embers safely.
  • Fire Poker – When the wood starts to burn down, you may need to shift logs to get a complete burn and a fire poker (or a long stick) can help you safely shift logs in the fire to expose hotter embers.

Step-By-Step Process to Build a Fire in Your Fire Pit

A fire needs three elements to burn – fuel, a heat source and oxygen – and an improperly built fire will not burn for long. When you have your tools and materials, you are ready to kickstart your fire and it is a pretty simple process. Here is a quick look at how to start a fire in your backyard fire pit. 

Man Using the Teepee Structure to Start a Fire
  1. Use Tinder, Kindling and Firewood to Build a Fire Structure – When you are ready, use the tinder and kindling to create a fire structure in your fire pit. There are three primary methods – the Cross Fire Structure, Teepee Fire Structure and Log Cabin Fire Structure. No matter which structure you use, it is important to leave ventilation to allow oxygen to get to the tinder and kindling as the fire grows.
  2. Light the Tinder in Your Fire Pit – When you have built your fire with the tinder at the center, kindling in an inner ring and with the firewood on the outside, it is time to light the tinder. Use your lighter, matches, flint and steel or fire starter to ignite the tinder. If the tinder will not stay lit, it may not be getting enough oxygen and you may need to thin out the kindling or firewood around it. 
  3. Maintain the Fire – When you have flames, you may believe that you are done, but it is important to monitor and maintain the fire if you want it to last. Add additional firewood as the logs burn down, use your fire poker to move hot coals and expose new wood to the fire to keep the fire going all night. 

READ MORE: How To Put Out the Fire in Your Backyard Fire Pit

Do you need to learn how to start a fire in your backyard fire pit? We hope that this quick step-by-step how-to guide by Fox River Fire Rings will help you spend less time building your fire and more time enjoying it. Contact Fox River Fire Rings today to learn about our custom outdoor fire rings!