It may seem easy to start a fire in your fireplace, but the techniques and tools you use could prevent you from doing it properly. To keep your home safe while burning wood in the flue, you must use the right steps to build a fire, or it might not light or burn efficiently. Mastering the art of constructing a fire will slowly become easier with a little practice.

Enjoy and safely use your fireplace using these steps.

White fireplace with fire burning

Tools and Materials

You can’t build a fire without the proper tools and materials. Here’s a general list of items you’ll need to start a fire.

  • Utensils (poker, brush, tongs, shovel, etc.)
  • Extra-long matches
  • Old newspaper
  • Kindling
  • Firewood

It’s important to note that the type of materials you choose to burn can impact how well the fire heats the home. Only use the best kind of wood for your fireplace—selecting the wrong type of fuel could create more smoke or make it difficult to light.

Step One: Ensure the Fireplace Is Clear

You must remove any flammable objects or substances from the hearth, or they could potentially become fire hazards. Never start a fire in your fireplace when you haven’t followed through with an inspection recently. Utilizing the chimney when it’s not in working condition could be dangerous for your home; ensure the damper is open and the area around the fireplace is clear before building a fire.

Step Two: Build Your Logs Up

A major debate among individuals that build many fires is to use the triangular or log cabin technique. Either approach is adequate for starting a fire, so choose a method that works best for you. In this step, arrange the wood on the metal grate, leaving enough room or space between logs for good air ventilation. Without this, there might not be enough oxygen fueling the fire, and it could die off prematurely or have difficulty starting.

Step Three: Add Newspaper and Kindling

Take your old newspaper from before and begin crumpling the material into loose balls. Place them throughout your wood so that the fire has kindling to catch and spread through. If you skip this step, you’ll have a hard time creating flames since this is what allows the fire to reach the wood.

Step Four: Light the Kindling

Once you have your wood and kindling positioned, you can take one of your matches to light the fire. Place the match near a piece of newspaper so that it catches on fire and spreads to the rest of the materials. Remember only to build a small fire and never add too much wood, or it could become out of control. Now that your fire is blazing, simply add more logs for as long as you need.

To avoid burning yourself or igniting unwanted materials, you should maintain a safe distance of about three feet from the fire. Don’t leave your fireplace unattended when using it. Otherwise, a single stray spark could be detrimental to your home. Continue using the best practices for cleaning your chimney, and don’t forget to receive an annual inspection so that you can burn clean and efficient fires.