5 Easy Ways to Start the Perfect Fire in a Fire Pit

  • by: Joshua Cooper
  • Reading time: 8 min.
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Besides the standard equipment used to start a fire, what else do you use to kindle? Some of the replies we get can shock you, but others are quite common. You might want to get a bottle of water and a handkerchief to dry your teary eyes from too much smoke!

Fire In A Fire Pit

Are you finding difficulties starting a fire outdoors? There are countless methods to start a fire in a fire pit. After intensive research, we found five ways that will make your work easier. We’ll begin with fire kindling methods and end with ignition systems.

Traditional Fire Pit Lighting

Even though this is an easy method of starting a fire in a firewood pit, it might be time-consuming. If you were a scout, you probably know it from your campfires days. But if you don’t, this is how the method works;

a) Start by collecting a pile of dry wood. Choose the driest wood to ease the lighting process. You’ll need;

  • Tinder (tree bark, pine needles, cattail fluff, dryer lint, cotton balls, etc.)
  • Kindling (twigs, tiny sticks, and wood splinter- these should be one inch thick)
  • Firewood (slab wood and seasoned logs)

b) Pile up a sizable heap of tinder.

c) Stack your kindling on top of the tinder bundle. Place it in a pyramid shape. Begin with small kindling pieces and progress to larger ones. Make sure there is adequate space to light the tinder heap from within.

d) Use a long-stemmed match for tinder kindling. Alternatively, you can try primitive methods like using fire sticks or flint to light the tinder and kindling. However, the first method is more convenient.

e) Add large pieces of tinder and kindling until you get a big blaze.

f) Add the dry logs and slab wood.

To enjoy the continuous ambiance, keep kindling the fire by adding more wood to the fire pit from time to time. You can get log grabbers or fire gloves for added safety.

The advantages of this method are;

  • It is enjoyable
  • Gives you a real feel of the outdoors

Using Pine Cones Fire Starters

This method is much easier since you don’t need tinder and kindling. Pine cones fire starters are locally available, or you can get them online. You may even get them from your backyard or in the woods.

If you opt to gather the pine cones on your own, make sure they are dry. The best pine cones are shortleaf, longleaf, and Loblolly because of their fanned out scales and broad shapes.

Sugar pine cones are not ideal due to their tight scales and long slender shapes.

Use pine cones in the place of tinder while fatwood will replace your kindling.

Fatwood comes from pine tree stamps and has high resins. The sap concentrates upon the hardening of pinewood stumps into a highly-flammable fire starter.

To start a fire;

  • Place a dried pine cone at a central position in the fire pit. Light the cone using a long-stemmed match or lighter.
  • Lay two to three pieces of fatwood on top of the cone in a crisscrossing manner.
  • As the fire increases, add a wood slab or fire log.
  • Just like in the first method, keep kindling to keep the fire going.

The advantages of the pine cones fire starters are;

  • Does not require tinder
  • They use pine resin as their catalyst and not harsh chemicals that are detrimental to the environment.

Using Gas to Light Up Logs

This is a super easy method to light up fire pits in a log cabin. Its advantages include;

  • There is no need for tinder and kindling
  • You can get your fire going even with slightly damp wood.

On the downside, it’s more expensive than the first two methods as you need some things;

  • You should have a dependable fuel line connected to your fire pit.
  • The fuel line should have a safety valve with a compatible key to ease turning on and off the gas supply.
  • Ensure you have a log grate for arranging your firewood over the log lighter. The log grate promotes better airflow for quick ignition and clean wood burning.

Here is how you can light up logs using gas;

  • Pile your wood over the log grate in the fire pit. When piling firewood, make sure your gas is off.
  • Once you are ready to start a fire, gently turn the valve key. Gas will flood the log lighter and get out via the precision drill potholes.
  • Place a long-stemmed match or lighter at the center of the log lighter and use it to start your fire.
  • Make sure to turn off the gas and remove the valve key once your firewood is burning.

Installing a fuel line can be tricky. Therefore, get a certified gas professional to do it for you. Remember to use a natural gas-igniter as per your local fire codes.

Using a Push-button Ignition System to Light Your Fire Pit

This system features control components in a valve box.

To use a push-button system to start a fire;

  • Press the control knob and ignition button simultaneously. The control knob will allow pilot gas to flow while the ignition button will create the spark.
  • Let go of the spark button once the pilot ignition occurs.
  • Let go of the valve knob after 20 seconds.
  • Tilt the control knob to the left to light the main burner.
  • Adjust the height of the flame by turning the valve knob. The system will auto-shut the gas flow if the flame goes off.
  • Place the knob in the OFF position when you want to shut down the burner and cut the gas flow.

The merits of using this method include;

  • You do not require firewood.
  • You won’t get troubled by smoke since it does not need wood.
  • It is less tedious.
  • After installation, operating, and maintaining the equipment is a breeze.
  • It is powered by a battery hence more convenient in remote locations.

It would be best to get a preassembled ignition and burner system for installation to be simpler. Confirm with your local authority about gas features rules before installing a propane fire pit or natural gas unit.

Also, ensure you get the ideal burner size to match your ignition system, whether standard or high capacity. A tiny burner may result in unsafe backpressure, while a big burner produces a low-height flame.

Use of a Remote-controlled Ignition System

This is one of the simplest methods of starting a fire in a fire pit.

  • Press the ON button on your remote to get the system going.
  • The system checks itself for defects before gas starts flowing.
  • The hot surface igniter will glow and start a fire.
  • Upon detection of the pilot flame, the gas flowing in the primary burner gets ignited.
  • You can turn off the system by pressing the OFF button on the remote.

The pros of using a remote-controlled ignition system in your fire pit are;

  • It requires little energy to start a fire.
  • It does not require tinder and kindling.
  • The system automatically cuts gas supply should the flame abruptly go off to ensure you are safe. It will then try to restart. If it fails to start after a few attempts, it will completely cut out the gas supply.


What Are the Best Diy Fire Starters for My Fire Pit?

Since you have a hard time getting tinder during cold months, a fire starter can help you quickly build a fire. Let’s see the easy ways to make a fire starter from home.

Tinder Cupcakes

If you opt to use sawdust, you can either purchase or get it from your woodworking workshop. Other ingredients you’ll need include;

  • Candle wax
  • A flammable container, i.e., egg cartons, muffin wraps, or snack-size cardboard boxes

To make the flammable cupcake;

  • Fill the container with sawdust or other types of tinder but not too tightly.
  • Pour hot wax over the sawdust.
  • Allow it to harden.
  • If you are using egg cartons, cut them into individual sections upon cooling.

Wax will slow down the sawdust burning process and ensure that logs catch fire. You can use any other flammable material in place of sawdust, such as dry pine needles.

A Toilet Paper Roll and Lint Fire Starter

Stuff the toilet paper roll loosely with dryer lint then cover it with a newspaper. Tight stuffing will prevent the roll from burning. The newspaper helps to secure the roll and lint. You can also stuff newspapers in place of lint.

Used Paper Towels With Cooking Oil

his fire starter is an excellent way to recycle after-meal products.

  • Dump your used paper towels into the used cooking oil and let the towels soak up.
  • You can wait for the towels to dry in a few days to avoid messiness.

A Leftovers Fire Starter

Some foods are flammable.

  • Dump such leftovers into a paper bag and twist its top to create a tip.
  • Place the stuffed paper bag underneath wood or whatever you are burning.
  • Light the bag’s tip and wait for the fire to light

What are Some of the Typical Food Fire Starters?

There are several flammable foods for example:

  • Potato chips
  • Flour
  • Dried coffee cream
  • Milk powder
  • Peanut shells
  • Orange peels

You probably won’t take out your floor or milk powder to start a fire in a fire pit. However, you may find yourself with expired products; thus, this is an excellent way to use them.

What Are the Safety Tips to Follow When Starting a Fire in a Fire Pit?

Here is what you should do to avoid harming yourself, others, and the environment when you start a fire in a fire pit;

  • Level your fire pit- Ensure your fire pit is in a leveled place. This is vital when using a free-standing fire pit to prevent it from toppling over and spilling.
  • Safe surface material- The material underneath and around your fire pit should be fire-resistant like brick and concrete. Ensure the tinder is far from the pit, as it may spread fires.
  • Distance from structures- Place your fire pit at least ten feet from the nearest building. Ensure it is not under a tree since sparks may light up dry leaves.
  • Water Source- have a water bucket or garden hose nearby to extinguish abrupt fires.
  • A fire pit screen- if your fire pit has a screen, use it to keep away embers and burning materials.
  • Keep distance- position your chairs at a safe distance from the fire pit. This prevents anyone from falling into the flames in case their chair tumbles. Besides, windy conditions may make the fire erratic.
  • Watch children- do not let children get too near the fire pit as it may entice them.
  • Always tend to your fire.

Bottom Line

Having gone through the five easy ways to start the perfect fire in a fire pit, which one looks more convenient? Whichever method you choose, remember to observe the safety measures when dealing with fire pits.

Don’t forget to check the safety codes regarding gas installations in your locality. Plus, get a certified professional to install propane or natural gas units in your backyard.