It may not be the season to start a fire in your fireplace quite yet, but these methods may also help you when starting that campfire this Labor Day weekend.
Method 1 - Quick & Easy Fire Starter
Step 1 - Gather dry kindling.
Use small pieces of split wood that will burn easily. Place it in the center of your fireplace on the grate or in the bottom of your fire pit. Be sure to stack it loosely to promote air flow.
Step 2 - Stack split logs around the kindling.
You've probably seen a tepee or log cabin style of fire. We often use a combination of these two types of fire building. If you're lighting the fire in your fireplace, be sure to stack your logs so they won't be able to roll into the room. Again be sure to stack loosely to promote air flow.
Step 3 - Make your newspaper fire starter.
If you've ever started a fire, you know you need small pieces of wood for kindling and larger pieces of wood for keeping your fire fueled. Getting that kindling to burn isn't always easy. Fire starters are often used to get the fire burning quickly and easily. You can purchase commercial fire starters, use tinder like small dry twigs or grasses, or use paper. Newspaper makes a great fire starter because it is readily available (even if you only get a small paper in your junk mail), and the paper is uncoated, unlike magazines. We're going to use newspaper to make a quick fire-starter. I know, you've probably used crumpled paper before. I know I have, usually with less than successful results. Instead of crumpling the paper, we're going to shred it.
Beginning at the fold, tear the paper into 1 inch wide strips. Gather the strips into a pile. Fluff the pile with your hands to create a nice fluffy nest of paper. Now place your fire starter loosely at the bottom of your fire. If using a grate in your fireplace, place it under the grate.
Step 4 - Light your fire.
Using a match or lighter, light the shredded paper. The fluffy bunch of strips will quickly light and soon catch your kindling on fire, and in turn light your logs. You should have a nice warm fire in no time!
Method 2 - The Upside-Down Fire
Instead of placing the fire starter and kindling on the bottom, we'll place it on top.
Step 1 - Place your logs.
Use split wood for easier burning. Stack 3 to 4 pieces in one direction, and then stack 3-4 more on top in the other direction, making sure there's room for air to circulate. In your fireplace, you'll stack these on your grate. If you're using a fire pit at a campground, you might use a few rocks to get your logs up off the ground.
Step 2 - Add dry kindling.
Use smaller branches or split wood pieces that will burn more quickly. Make a nice pile on top of your logs.
Step 3 - Add your tinder and fire starter.
Use strips of paper as before, or lay wider strips of paper across the top. Commercial fire starters work well with this fire too. Pile some very small tinder on top.
Step 4 - Light your fire.
Now light the paper and/or fire starter, and in a few minutes you'll be enjoying your fire.
Don't forget the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers for S'mores. Sliced strawberries are great on S'mores too, try it if you haven't. Have a great weekend!
Do you have any tricks that you use to get your fire started? Leave us a comment!