Starting a Fire in an Outdoor Fireplace

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Prepare Kindling

  • If the fireplace is portable, turn it so that the back faces into the wind. If it is stationary, set up a small non-flammable wind barrier, or stand between the wind and the fireplace to protect the fire as it is started. Crumple up two or three sheets of newspaper and place them in the center of the fireplace. Set some small woodchips, pine needles or dry leaves on top of the newspaper. Place some small sticks of kindling on end in a circle around the newspaper so that the kindling forms a teepee. Add a few medium pieces of kindling to the teepee circle as well. Light the newspaper.

Place Larger Kindling

  • Wait a few moments for the kindling placed in the teepee formation to catch fire. Once it is engulfed in flames, gently lay a large piece of kindling on top of the teepee, being careful not to collapse or smother it. When the first piece of large kindling is burning well, place another large piece of kindling on top of it at an angle so that the large pieces are forming an "x."

Place Logs

  • Wait a few minutes until the large pieces of kindling are burning strong. Gently place a small log on top of the kindling, this time at a different angle than the pieces of kindling so that the log has plenty of air flow around it. Let the small log burn until you have a nice bed of coals from the kindling and the log is mostly burnt. Use a poker to turn the log sideways and place a large log on top of it, again at an angle to allow air flow. If the fire dies down, or the big log doesn't catch, gently blow on the coals to coax the fire to catch the log.

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  • Photo Credit Michele de Notaristefani
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