How to Properly Build a Fire

by | Aug 27, 2013 | Fireplace Maintenance

How to Build an Outdoor/Indoor Fire

Correct Way to Start a Fire - Raleigh NC - Mr. Smokestack Chimney ServiceOf all the advancements that humanity has made one stands out as the single most important discovery of all time. The ability to make fire. Before humanity had this ability all energy went into survival. There was no time to develop a culture. Once humanity had fire, however, things would change forever. Fire gave early humans the ability to cook their food which allowed less energy to be spent on digestion allowing more to go toward the development of the more complicated parts of the brain. It also gave them protection from predators and a common place to come together where they would share experiences growing the library of human knowledge. The ability to make a fire became the single most important skill an early human had but today it is taken for granted. Most people only know how to strike a match and think that means they can make fire but to create a fire effectively requires a bit of planning in order to maintain optimal safety -whether in your fireplace or under the stars.

While early humans escaped the rigors or everyday life by moving indoors we now often do the exact opposite. Most of us spend our days indoors and go on camping trips to relax. Of course any experienced camper will tell you that you cannot have a true outdoor experience without a campfire. To create the perfect campfire requires a small amount of prep work. The first step is to create a fire pit. This will contain the fire keeping it from spreading into your campsite or any nearby forest or other flammable landscapes but it will also serve to contain the heat making the fire burn hotter and longer.

To create the fire pit clear away all debris from an area a little larger than the base of the fire you wish to build. If possible it is helpful to dig a bit into the ground to create a bowl shape for the fire to sit in. This will serve to keep any stray firewood from falling out of the fire area and again will help contain the heat. You should be left with a small dirt pit. Next surround the pit with rocks to add an additional barrier. Once that is done you can begin the process of building the actual fire. Gather some tinder (small, dry, very flammable sticks or leaves) to put into the center of the pit. This is your starter fuel. The next step is to build a tee-pee structure around the tinder with some kindling. Kindling consists of slightly larger sticks and twigs. You now have a structure that will support a fire. If you would like a larger fire then you can either continue building a larger tee-pee structure out of larger logs or a square log-cabin type structure surrounding the original tee-pee. Now simply light and enjoy.

Outdoor campfires are wonderful but what if you aren’t the outdoorsy type? No worries! That is why we have fireplaces. The steps to build a fire in an indoor fireplace are a little different however. Step one is to always make sure that the flue is open. If you start a fire indoors without opening the flue the house will fill with smoke and deadly carbon monoxide. Once the flue is open you are ready to build the fire structure. The easiest source of tinder is some balled up newspaper. Put this newspaper towards the back of the fireplace. Next stack your kindling on top of it. Make sure to leave space for oxygen to circulate as this is a necessary component to any fire. There is no need to make this structure particularly rigid or stable as the grate in your fireplace will support it. Once this is done you are ready to light this stack. Once this is lit you can build a larger structure on top out of logs. The best way to do this is to lay a couple lengthwise and put one or two on top in a diagonal. This will allow oxygen to flow through the logs allowing them to catch and burn easily.

So now you know how to create a quick, easy, and safe fire whether you are indoors or out. And of course no matter where you are never leave a fire unattended and make sure it is completely out before you leave or go to sleep. If you follow these simple instructions you are well on your way to enjoying the greatest achievement in human history! Call Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service in Raleigh, NC at 919-747-1859 for more info on how to properly build a fire.

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