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How to start a fire in a fire pit?


While there are various ways to start a fire, the safest way for beginners is to use wood or coal as fuel. For tinder and kindle, use paper and twigs. Put a handful of tinder on the center of the fire pit, then stack the small twigs in a teepee fashion. Light the fire using a lighter or match and once the kindle starts burning, slowly stack wood in a teepee position. Choose coals that come infused it burning fluid so that you don’t have to use any additional fluid.

In this article, we have discussed various ways to start a fire in a fire pit.

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit? (Step-by-Step)

Step 1

Make sure to collect all the tinder, kindling, and fuel required to start the fire.

Tinder includes materials such as newspaper, straw, or dry pine needles. Kindling comprises thin sticks or twigs, while fuel refers to larger firewood that helps the fire burn longer. It’s better to use dry or old wood as fuel as burning wet wood is comparatively more complicated.

To start a fire and keep it stay longer, you need to have at least one armful of tinder and kindling and enough fuel. A sizeable dry log can burn for almost 45 minutes so arrange your fuel accordingly.

Step 2

Take a handful of tinder and lay it on the fire pit center. Now add four or five pieces of kindling around the tinder in a teepee shape.

Step 3

Light a match on the tinder, ensuring the flames reach the kindling and make them burn.

Step 4

Once the kindling starts burning, now its turn to add fuel to the fire. Place the wood carefully on top of the kindling. The kindling may collapse over the tinder, but that’s completely normal.

Step 5

Keep adding small fuel pieces to keep the flame keep burning. You may have to add more tinder and kindling if the fire starts to wane. Repeat the process until the fuel catches fire. Meantime, you must also check the safety of the surroundings. If the fire begins to burn higher, let it die down before adding more fuel.

Step 6

Stop adding tinder, tinder, and fuel to the fire one hour before you want to put down the fire. Once the flame goes down to only embers, add some sand or dirt to stop the fire completely.

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit with Wet Woods?

Starting a fire with wet woods is difficult, but it’s not impossible.

When we say wet wood, it usually means a wood that has been dead for a year or more, exposed to rain, or soaked with moisture. Do not confuse it with green wood, which only causes smoke and no fire.

You need three types of fuel to start a fire in a fire pit with wet woods:

Tinder: It refers to objects that help create a fire. It usually comprises cotton balls, paper, dry wood shavings, dryer lint, and sticks. To make the fire burn longer, you can add some cooking oil or petroleum jelly to cotton balls or lint.

Kindling: Small dry twigs less thick than your finger would work great for firing wet woods. You can use a knife to shave the wet twigs to their dry center.

Fuel: For fuel, you can use wet prices of woods and some coals if possible.

Step 1

Build a teepee by stacking small kindling twigs over a pile of tinder or fire sticks.

Step 2

Parallelly put two large pieces of wood to each side of the teepee, usually a hand width away. Keep the wood chunks a bit higher to the kindling teepee. If the wood pieces are small, use several pieces at once to achieve the height.

Position two pieces of wet fuel at a 90-degree angle with one wood over the kindling teepee keeping a finger width gap between the kindling wood.

Step 3

Now light the kindling to fire, and once it starts to burn, add more kindling sticks. Make sure the air has enough room to escape from the gap of the top pieces as a chimney. Once the fire burns brighter, the heat will dry out the wet woods. Once they dry, they will catch fire easily.

Step 4

Once the fuel catches fire, add two more pieces onto the stack at a ninety-degree angle. Then add two more pieces at the same angle in the opposite direction. As the fire grows, more wet woods continue, forming a style similar to the log cabin.

Step 5

Smoke might come from the stack as it collapses. To restore the airflow and stop the smoking, use a long stick or tongs to form some airflow gaps by rearranging the wood.

How to Start a Fire in Fire Pit with Charcoal?

A charcoal fire pit is perfect for cooking and gathering as you get cozy with your loved ones.

Unlike woods, charcoal is relatively easy to light and maintain the temperature. They are readily available both online and nearby stores. 

The first step to creating a charcoal fire pit is to spread the charcoal evenly on the pit before lighting them.

You can also use some kindling and tinder to light fire by tucking them under the coals. Else, you can simply squirt some flammable liquid on the coal and light it up with a match or a lighter fuel.

Some charcoal nowadays comes infused with lighter fluid. In such cases, you can light them with a lighter or match. Meanwhile, you have to start adding a small amount of lighter fluid or newspaper, etc.

Safety Tips

Since charcoal is easily flammable, you need to take safety measures. For instance, never leave the fire unattended or exposed to children. Coal may create fire embers, so make sure to clean the fire pit before reusing it. Although the flame in charcoal is not as intense as a wood fire, the fire pit would be scalding during operation. Make sure not to touch any part of the pit.

How to Start a Fire in Fire Pit with Lighter Fluid?

Lighter fluids are highly flammable, so proper precautions must be made before using them. If you are lighting a fire for the first time, it’s best to go for safer options like wood or coal. 

It would be safer to douse the fluid on the wood before stacking them on the pit. You would still need some tinder such as newspaper or cotton balls stacked underneath the fuel. Take extra care while lighting the fluid-soaked wood on fire. You can wear safety gloves while using a lighter or throw a lighted match from a distance. 

How to Start a Fire Pit in Windy Atmosphere?

Wind makes be more challenging to light a fire as it can make the sparks fly, spreading the fire easier. To avoid embers or sparks flying around your patio and yard, you can use the following methods:

Use teepee method: Stacking woods in teepee methods make the fire-resistant to the wind. 

Use a windscreen: They are fat and large screens that block the wind, readily available at any outdoor or sporting goods store. You can surround the fire pit to stop the wind from getting in the pit.

Change the direction of the wind: You can blow air in the opposite direction of the wind. This allows more oxygen to go into your pit, making the fire grow bigger and better.

The type of wood as fuel also matters. Some wood burns faster than others, so you may need to stack them adequately not to run out midway. 


Using dry wood or coal as fuel is a great way to start a fire in a fire pit as they are easy to ignite with less hassle. Remember to start the fire with a kindle and tinder, and then add fuel. If your logs are more extensive, it’s better to split them into more manageable pieces. Above all, putting out a fire is equally important. Stop adding fuel to the fire an hour before. Add sand or dirt and water to the fire to put it out completely.