• The Firewood Company

How to Light the Perfect Fire

Having trouble getting your fire to light on these cold winter days? The Firewood Company has some top tips to get your fire roaring quickly and efficiently. PLUS: top tips for outdoor fires.

It’s not uncommon to hear of homeowners struggling to get their fires to light. Wet wood, too much ash, and incorrect firestarters are normally the main culprit. With a little planning and consideration, it’s easy to get your fire to bounce into life in a limited time.

#TOP TIP: Choose Your Wood Wisely
With all fires, you must choose your kindling carefully. Hardwoods are not suitable for kindling or starting your fire. Choose a good dry softwood like pine and ensure there are plenty of small and barky pieces that will catch quickly.

Make certain you have enough good quality kindling cut and ready for use. Having your woodshed correctly stacked and organise will help with the daily lighting ritual of your fireplace. Scrounging around for suitable kindling or doing the quick grab of a few logs may find you standing in front of your fire, praying for that beautiful cracking sound, for much longer than needed.

If you do not have much room in your woodshed consider stacking hardwoods outside in a sunny location. Its paramount softwoods are kept undercover to prevent soggy wood. Hardwood is suitable to be stacked on fence lines in a sunny location. Chop kindling and keep this in an easy-to-grab location, out of the weather. Your wood must be dry before you stack it away.

Keeping a collection of old newspapers is also paramount, even if you are using firelighters, paper is also invaluable to get a quick sudden heat that will send your kindling into a cracking ball of flames. Also, collect pinecones in the summer and allow them to dry during the season. Pinecones alongside a good selection of bark are wonderful for starting fires, but they need to be dry.

Lighting the Fire

  1. Ensure you only have a small amount of ash in the bottom of your fireplace. Having too much can extinguish paper and also your firelighters. Remove ash and consider sprinkling over your gardens – they will love you for it.

  2. Scrunch or twist handfuls of newspaper laying this across the bottom of your fireplace.

  3. Add firelighters to the middle of this pile if you wish to use them.

  4. Set small pieces of kindling on the bottom of your fireplace over the top of the paper and crisscross larger pieces over the top. Keep adding in a crisscrossed pattern until you have a small mound of wood.

  5. Add dry pinecones or bark in the holes, but make sure you leave enough gaps for good airflow.

  6. Open your fireplace flue and if you have a fan, pop this on the low setting.

  7. Light the paper and keep your fire-door slightly ajar.

  8. Once the wood is lit and you can hear it happily cracking away, add a few larger pieces of dry softwood on top of the kindling.

  9. Allow to catch and close the fire door.

  10. Once the softwood is happily glowing red and roaring you can now add your hardwoods.

Outdoor Fires Stacks - TIPS


If you are creating an outdoor fireplace the most important step is to ensure you have easily accessible water on hand. Ring the fire with large stones and make sure you are not lighting during restricted fire seasons. Do not light if you are surrounded by long dry grass or trees. To reduce smoke only burn dry wood. Using any green foliage will increase the amount of smoke and reduce the amount of heat. Follow the same steps as above. It is advisable to only burn softwoods as they light easily and burn quickly. Adding hardwoods may leave you with a smoldering log long after you have decided to leave. Be sure to fully extinguish any embers and logs with ample water before leaving unattended…and don’t forget the marshmallows!

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