How to Keep a Fire Burning
Keeping a Fire Burning Outdoors
Get tinder and kindling.Tinder and kindling are small bits of wood, twine, or paper get your fire going easily. Tinder is the material that will burn easily even with a small spark, making your fire start. Kindling is more substantial and will sustain your fire. You need both to make a good, durable fire.
- Good tinder materials: Newspaper, cotton swabs, and toilet paper work well if you have them at your campsite. If you need more natural materials try dry leaves, Cattail fluff, and Birch bark.
- Good kindling materials: Dried twigs, small, thin pieces of wood like sticks and broken tree branches. Dried leaves also work well.
- Keeping a fire burning is a cycle. Start with tinder, then add kindling, and finally wood. To keep your fire from going out, you’ll have to repeat the process throughout.
Use dry firewood.All the wood you use to build your fire should be completely dry. If there's any moisture left in the wood, it will be harder to keep a fire going. Instead, you might end up with a pile of smoking wood. If dry wood is not available, use extra kindling and tinder to combat any moisture.
- Stay away from recently chopped trees, as they have a lot of water still and won’t contribute to a sustaining fire.
- Seasoned firewood is the best, because it has been left to dry out for months or even years. If firewood has been seasoned properly, it will catch quickly and sustain a nice burn.
- When outdoors at a campsite or in the woods, look for fallen logs, or find an older tree to chop down. Oak and birch trees are abundant in the United states and are nice, hardwoods which can burn hot, but allow for a longer, sustained fire.
Start with softwood, sustain with hardwood.Weigh the options of using Hardwood vs. Softwood. Softwood is good for building up a fire, and hardwood will help you keep the fire going.
- Softwoods like pines and firs are easier to light but burn down quickly. If you’re trying to keep a fire going that’s burned down, add softwood to quickly draw a larger flame.
- Hardwood is harder to light when starting a fire, but lasts for a very long time, and burns with more heat.
- A solution to keeping your fire burning is to start the fire with softwood and switch to hardwood when you have a good, stable flame with some embers.
Add oxygen to fan your flames.Make sure the fire has enough ventilation, preferably from all sides. This can be obtained by building your fire on top of a grate if you have one. Put some paper product (such as newspaper) in the middle of your fire, on top of the grate before placing your wood.
- Stack the new firewood with a lot of space between the logs to get proper ventilation.
- Frequently add more tinder and kindling to the open spaces between your logs.
- Blow on you fire. This is especially useful when you are just lighting the fire, to make it bigger.
- If you need to quickly restart a fire that’s gone out, gather up all your embers into a pile. Use your embers as a bed to stack on more tinder and kindling. Then, when you see a flame to start to rise, add more wood. Use softwood if possible.
Keeping a Fire Burning in the Rain
Start small.If it’s raining, or has recently rained and you don’t have access to dry firewood, it’s still possible to keep your fire burning. It just takes more effort and patience.
- Focus on building up a small flame in one area of your fire pit. The larger the wet area and material, the harder it will be to create enough heat for a sustainable fire.
- Use extra tinder and kindling. Don’t try to light a whole log just yet. Work on building a flame with paper and sticks.
- Birch trees have good bark for quick burning even when it’s raining as the bark has natural oils which repel moisture.
- If you can, place a tarp or something over your fire to block any rain. Just make sure it’s enough to prevent scorching or catching fire.
Wrap your wood in a towel before trying to burn.Use a dry towel or even dry clothes to wrap all of your wood and burning materials in. Damp the wood down and try your best to suck up as much moisture as possible.
- If you suspect you may encounter rain, grab a canister before you go out and fill it with dry twigs, pine cones and needles. An oatmeal tin works great for storing small kindling and will keep it dry.
- When burning a fire outdoors, it’s always a good idea to have extra logs which you keep wrapped up just in case of rain.
Use smaller logs, sticks, and anything else at your disposal.A grouping of smaller logs and kindling will be easier to light individually than one large log. In addition, you can try to light anything that will burn to get your fire started, or keep it going.
- Waterproof matches, a lighter, or flint and steel are your best best for sparking a flame.
- Foods that have a lot of carbohydrates can also be used as fuel in a pinch. Foods like chocolate and marshmallows work well.
- If you have a hatchet or other way to split logs, use it. Split logs down the middle to expose the dry area. Stand the logs up and face the dry bark towards the flame.
Keeping a Fire Burning Indoors
Remove any excess ash from your fireplace before building a fire.An Ash bed of 1-2 inches should always be maintained, this helps protect the floor of the firebox and will also assist in catching embers and radiating heat.
- Excess ash in the base of your fireplace can pile up and hamper any new material from being able to burn quickly and properly.
- Excess ash can also be a potential health hazard.
Stoke your fire regularly.If the fire seems to die out, use a long stick or a fire poker to move the logs around. You should also blow on them to provide a burst of oxygen. Keep working on the fire until it seems to be stable again, if you neglect it, it will go out.
- Use your poker to keep your coals together. Red, hot charcoal burns hot and will provide enough heat to quickly light tinder, kindling, and softwood. Coals will get hotter and hotter as you accumulate them with the fire poker/stick and retain plenty of heat for a long time.
- As the wood burns down to charcoal, make the charcoal glow red by poking and blowing air onto it. Then add on some more tinder, kindling and firewood.
Add kindling and tinder regularly.Sometimes, when burning a fire in your fireplace at home, parts of your logs may not get hot enough to catch fire. To Keep your fire burning longer, frequently add more kindling and tinder before adding logs to create more flames and heat, helping your logs burn.
- If you have an elevated grate in your fireplace, place your kindling and tinder under the grate so that the flames can raise up beneath the logs.
- If you don’t have space under your logs, stuff the material in between the logs with a poker.
Add Hardwood logs.Place new logs on your fire so that there is still space for the fire to breathe. You don’t want to smother what fire you have.
- Larger hardwood logs are great for sustaining an already burning fire. If the fire is hot enough, the hardwood logs won’t take too long to start burning.
- If your fire is dying out, mix some softwood logs in as well to quickly draw a larger flame.
QuestionIs it okay to soak the wood with diesel gas?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNot a smart idea. The risk of getting severe burns with that method is high.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some tips to keep a fire safe?Rick ThomCommunity AnswerTo keep a campfire safe, clear any leaves or twigs a solid 3 feet (1m) away from the area; dig down into the ground about up to your ankle; then ring the pit with large stones. Don't let the fire get so big it throws sparks.Thanks!
QuestionI'm trying to burn brush in my yard, but when the leaves burn off, then fire is out and not even those burn off. It has set there for about two months with very little rain.Rick ThomCommunity AnswerIf the brush is green, then it will take a rather long time to dry out enough to burn on its own. Try building a large fire using some hardwood, so that it burns for a long time. Then put the brush on that. You should have more success with that. Hardwood burns very hot, and will dry the brush out quickly to burn it. One thing to watch out for is not to smother your fire. Be sure to let the fire stay at a consistent height.Thanks!
QuestionWhy is burning cans bad?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBecause cans are made out of metal (aluminum), which has to be extremely hot to melt. Sometimes this could take multiple fires for the can to completely melt.Thanks!
QuestionI've noticed that when I put paper in my fire because I need to get rid of junk, it has a funny smell. Almost toxic! Is that ok?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat's because of the ink and bleach along with other chemicals which can be on printed paper. Stop putting those items into the fire so you aren't inhaling those toxins.Thanks!
QuestionIs it possible to keep a fire going for several days if you keep adding wood?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it is possible, though someone would have to tend the fire overnight to ensure it stays burning.Thanks!
QuestionWhat would happen if I threw a lighter into a lit fireplace?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe lighter would explode, which could be extremely dangerous. You shouldn't do this.Thanks!
QuestionHow is a fire kept "on hold" outdoors for days so that it can be easily taken back into use without a need to ignite it again?Community AnswerEmbers left over from a naturally-dying fire will stay warm for a long time, perhaps up to a day. You could keep a fire "on hold" by feeding these embers twigs to retain the heat, and then adding more tinder and fuel when you want a "real" fire.Thanks!
QuestionI need a bellow. Where do I get one?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can purchase one online or in a local hardware store in fireplace accessories.Thanks!
To keep a fire burning outside, start by adding good tinder, like newspaper or dry leaves, and kindling, like dried twigs or thin pieces of wood. Then, add dry firewood to keep it going strong. Additionally, make sure your fire has enough ventilation, preferably from all sides. One way to keep the air flowing is to build your fire on a grate or to stack the firewood with a lot of space between the logs. Alternatively, to keep a fire going indoors, remove excess ash that could smother the flames and stoke your fire regularly to give it bursts of oxygen.
- You should never burn:
- You could use fire igniting gels. This is a gel lighter fluid, which relies on chemicals. You simply apply to your firewood and lighten up, and the fire will burn intensely for some minutes. This is useful to get your fire lit. Vaseline works surprisingly well for this too.
- Before making a fire indoors always check to make sure the flu is properly open.
- Always be careful when dealing with fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Know how to put out a fire, report a fire and use a fire-extinguisher.
Sources and Citations
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
In other languages:
Español: , Italiano: , Português: , Русский: , Français: , Deutsch:
Video: Survival fire and how to keep a fire going all night long for survival.
How to Make Corn Whiskey
How to Control a Mobile App with Podium
Avant-Garde Hectic Sneakers
The Sports Luxe Trend: An Essential Mens Guide
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively flirting on the red carpet
Stretching Exercises for Ankylosing Spondylitis
How to Become a Soccer Fan
Scandinavian fashion is having a moment, could it be thanks to this woman
7 Foods That Can Aid in Healing SkinInflammation
4 Ways to Design Blogs
Mary Berry’s The Complete Aga Cookbook