Easy Ways to Start Fire in an Outdoor Fire Pit

When I was in the pine forest, I used to collect twigs. A fire usually begins with a few twigs and a few leaves. A single match typically will start a fire pit, although it’s more complicated to light a fire in the winter. Maybe there are some more accessible techniques to light a fire, which prompted me to research How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit?

How to Start a Fire in a wood-burning firepit. Use dried hardwood. Prepare Tinder by combining dried leaves, shavings or grass. Use some small thin strips of seasoned firewood for Kindling and hardwood to fuel the fire, such as quarter-split logs. Make a fire starter to help ignite the fire. Stack approximately four-quarter split wood in the centre of a triangle pyramid or stacked crisscross, leaving a void. Arrange Kindling in the middle, followed by a pile of Tinder. Allow sufficient airflow for the Tinder. 

To assist the heavy wood, build a short kindling bridge at either end of the base frame. Light the match, be mindful of wind and fire sparks, put the game immediately under the Tinder and fire starter. A breath of air can help elevate the fires. At this point on, you should have a successful fire.

With so many ways to start a fire, some of which are easier than others. This answer is for a wood-burning firepit, but what about a gas firepit or charcoal firepit? What about the different types of woods? We’ll go in-depth and some additional fire starter tips in this post to let you know the easiest way to start a fire in a fire pit in any situation.

Natural materials to start a wood-burning fire?

Essentially, oxygen and fuel are needed to start a fire, followed by dry Tinder, i.e. readily combustible fuel. Utilizing dry grass or leaves, even wood shavings, or even aged tree bark is a brilliant idea.


There are various alternatives to Tinder, such as cotton wool or lint from fabric or moss from a tree. Numerous brands offer fire starters, such as the SOL All-Weather Fire Cubes, which remain effective even after being submerged in water.

To start a fire quickly, either a decent lighter or some appropriate waterproof matches will be essential. Although longer matches have much more advantages, there may be some issues if the box is wet.

Fire Igniters

In terms of lighters, it’s incredibly beneficial to have safety lighters on hand, such as the Missile Permanent Match lighter or the Match Keychain Lighter, which is two of my particular favourites.

However, when it comes to lighting a firepit quickly, the latest long handle and long neck USB rechargeable lighters are ideal, or for a fast, mighty fire, the butane torch lighter is truly a treasure.

There are also alternatives to matches and lighters, such as a flint fire starter. Perhaps make a DIY flint by locating an old used woodwork file and hitting various quartz stones, but wear appropriate quality gloves for this process.

Survival Fire Starting Methods 

Māhoe wood was used to make fire by the Ingenious people of Aotearoa. They could heat the Māhoe (Melicytus Ramiflorus) to the ignition point by rapidly rubbing a pointed stick of Kaikōmako-Ducks Foot (Pennantia Corymbosa) against a grooved piece of soft Māhoe wood.

MĀORI carving close to native trees
MĀORI carving close to native trees photo by <a title=httpsunsplashcommappingmegantravel href=httpsunsplashcommappingmegantravel>httpsunsplashcommappingmegantravel<a>

A fine fluff of dry moss was put in the groove, and after it caught fire and acted as Tinder, also used was more substantial dry material such as the long shoots of the Raupō-bullrush (Typha Orientalis ) was placed over the flame to jumpstart it. So lessons we learn from this is most fluffy type plants are fantastic as fire-starters.

Other Essential Tools

Additionally, it is good to carry a sharp, heavy-duty knife for breaking up Kindling and shaving wood to create Tinder from softwood.

Keep a shovel and a tin bucket on hand for removing ash from the firepit. A bucket of sand is ideal for extinguishing fires, especially oil gas fires immune to water, pouring the sand over the fuel, totally smothering the flames. The sand would suffocate the fire by cutting off its oxygen supply. It is essential to have a water supply nearby or a bucket of water on hand in an emergency.

Please find out more about what to do should someone burn themselves first aid and injuries. Learn more on first aid burns here.

The source of energy – What are the best things to burn?

Firewood Oak
photo by <a title=httpsunsplashcomdejan kide href=httpsunsplashcomdejan kide>httpsunsplashcomdejan kide<a>

Divide the wood into three piles: Tinder, Kindling, and Firewood for fuel to determine what you have available.

To begin, let us discuss Kindling – the best woods are pine, red oak, manuka, and, in my view, cedar. An essential feature of good Kindling is the use of completely dry softwood cut into long, thin sections or simply assorted sizes of twigs will do the trick.

Although softwood is ideal for starting a fire and creates a flame and heat sufficient for cooking, it burns very quickly and will not last long. Quarter-cut larger logs are the best size for feeding and maintaining a nice blaze and getting the best results when sustaining enough heat in fireplaces or frying and grilling food. It is best to use hardwood to create a slow-burning fire.

Hardwoods such as pine, oak, ash, and birch are all acceptable, but in New Zealand, gum and manuka are much superior. It is essential to plan for the year to save money on firewood purchases while costs are low and keep it stored and dry.

Fuel Alternatives – Propane & Natural Gas  

Starting a fire inside a propane fire pit is straightforward; propane is affordable and convenient at various stores. Yes, propane could be a smarter bet for the atmosphere than wood, which leads me to natural gas.

While it is more complicated to install, natural gas burns cleanly is a safer choice for air quality and efficiency of starting a fire.

Analyse the Climate and Conditions

Whether the air is bitterly cold and rainy? or the wood is damp. If it is raining, cover the area with a tarp. Additionally, spray cotton balls soaked in alcohol-based hand sanitiser on the Kindling and wood to spark the flames. If you’re constructing a temporary DIY fire pit, you’ll need big rocks and gravel to create a circular pit.

Comply with the Laws 

In urban backyards, place some gravel in the centre to hold fire controlled and minor. Examine the rules and regulations in the area; look at this article to assist you with this.

How do you use a fire pit safely?

It is imperative to use good quality wood rather than old construction lumber or rubbish. Pay close attention to the forecast on windy or hot days fire not sensible. Keep a fully powered phone, first aid kit with a fire blanket always on hand. An on-site water supply is mandatory, or an on-site fire extinguisher.

Take care to ensure that everybody is aware of fire safety procedures. Do not start fires under or too close to dangerous objects. Always create or use a fire pit to keep the fire contained when lighting fires.

Ensure confirmation of rules and regulations for fire in your area informed on restrictions and fire heights, and always extinguish a fire thoroughly before leaving the site. Smouldering embers cause many fires.

To begin, burning wood, or most anything, contributes to air pollution, which may aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems in susceptible individuals. In this situation, a propane or gas fire pit might be preferable. Using dry-aged, high-quality wood is critical for reducing smoke. Avoid burning garbage or treated timber wherever possible.

The difference between Tinder and Kindling?

Tinder and Kindling are two primary fossil fuels for fire. Tinder is an easily flammable rough material, a relatively dry substance made of bark, a dry leaf, or a plant fibre like cotton, wool or dry pine needles, and a small number of twigs. All Tinder requires is a spark and heat, and the fire begins immediately. The flames emerge, and it burns rapidly. Kindling is the fuel used to hold fire before it has developed into a more significant fire. Kindling is a prominent type of twig that is thicker than Tinder but smaller than firewood. It catches fire quickly and retains a flame before the hardwood log catches fire and starts to blaze.

What should I use for Tinder and Kindling?

There are various DIY alternatives for tinder dryer lint, and one of the easiest is People often use cotton wool with Vaseline, which behaves like wax. Grate some crayon or candle with sawdust into a cupcake mould; you might also use nacho chips or fibrous dry fluffy plant-based stuff, including Raupō -Bullrush shoots, milkweed flux, straw or moss, dry leaves.

Photo from my phone Different Types Kindling.
Photo from my phone Different Types Kindling

Kindling substitutes include bark, pine cones, and plant-based rope. It pays to use softwood (Pine, Cedar, Redwood) because it lights up faster. Make use of a larger twig. If you care for the earth and want to help minimize the carbon footprint, many green options are available, such as non-petroleum natural wax logs, reclaimed sawdust, or even logs produced from coffee beans.

Wood for cooking 

Having tried both Manuka and Pohutukawa smoked mullet (fish) and meat, I recommend these as must-tries in New Zealand; the flavours are spicy yet divine, with an almost tangy fragrance. I’ve had hickory-smoked bacon and aubergine and found it to be an outstanding choice for cooking. Another flexible wood will be apple or a fruit type, such as plum, peach, or pear.

Finally, wood with an unmistakable aromatic scent that is perhaps more easily accessible is Beech. I’ve cooked with this in an outdoor pizza oven, and it worked fine; maybe you could use a related hardwood like oak as well.

If you think of using pine for cooking, I will rethink it as a high glue wood that burns too rapidly and infuses an awful food taste.

How to Start a Gas Fire Pits – stay safe.

 Begin with the flames

To start a gas or LPG fire, you must first spark the flame. But, before you can think of sparking the firepit, make sure it’s in good working order, so there’s no gas escaping, that there are no leaks, and that the gas bottle hasn’t been left on. You may have to manually light the fire pit if there is no pilot light. In either case, if you have a piezoelectric spark generator, the long neck lighter is the best fit for the task.

Gas Fire Pit
Photo by Photo 109043134 Fire © Justin Anderson | Dreamstimecom

Propane Firepit 

First, starting a propane backyard fire pit, priming it, inspecting and performing routine safety measures, ensuring no gas leakage or funny smell and keeping it intact and clean is a straightforward process.

If you’re smelling something funky, read this article to help you figure out why.

Begin the flame of ready-to-move gas near the gas outputs or furnace, gently open the valve and place the flame near the centre outlets. Please wait a few seconds after it begins burning before adjusting the gas supply.

Firepit Ignition

Some firepits come with an all-ready-to-go system; merely turn a knob, and the fire appears as if via magic. By clicking the button, the pilot is enabled. Click another lever at the same time to start a fire. After the pilot has begun, leave the spark lever alone and release the valve button after thirty seconds.

Only a heads up: Buying a separate component burner for a different ignition system may be risky. Examine the instructions and consult with the vendor to verify that the two devices are compatible.

Piezoelectric firepit 

Turn off the control before opening the gas valve on your fuel supply. The control switch is usually labelled. However, a transparent rod handles the gas on some firepits.

To start, press the Start button. Most of the time positioned next to the control knob. Once you hear the buzzing sounds that suggest the presence of sparks while holding down the ignition generator lever, turn the control knob to an on to set then free automatically as soon as the fire begins, but maintain your hold on the control knob. Maintain grip for an additional 30 seconds to enable the thermocouple to heat up.


When dealing with various types of LPG or gas cylinder fire pits, it is critical to check them regularly, switch them off, and adopt the maintenance schedule to avoid accidents and ensure your family stays safe.

How do you make a DIY Firestarter?

 A fire starter is the best bet for quickly starting fires, mainly if the weather has been moist, muddy, or cold or windy conditions. Tones of practical ways to make a fire starter entirely appropriate on a bootstrap budget.

As mentioned above, Vaseline to a cotton bud is one most straightforward methods. Or, consider applying a few drops of hand sanitiser to the Tinder to assist it in catching fire. As previously mentioned, nacho chips will serve the purpose, but as will greasy potato chips or Pringles; another choice is a tiny amount of coal in an egg carton. with a dab of hand sanitiser

If you have some extra rubber tubing lying around, this could work too, but It’s not the most environmentally conscious stuff to burn, however. Other ways include burning nacho chips or rolling up and sparking some duct tape cigars.

Staking the Fire 

To arrange the firepit for best results And fire-starting and super-fast setup, the Tipi firepit is perfect. Construct it like a pyramid cone primary firewood staked with kindling (small sticks) and Tinder in the centre and side.

And there’s the top-down fire pit, built like Jenga blocks with a hole in the centre, Kindling and Tinder on top. However, for survival, there are slightly different versions of this. It performs well once it’s begun, requires little care, and is useful when it’s wet.

Why not try a survival fire for camping called the “Leaning Fire”. Start by laying down a little fern or leaves, stacking a couple of logs on top of each other, and then leaning some kindling on one side and putting the tinder and fire starter underneath the Kindling to get it started quickly.

Survival Camping Skills

Practice Survival Strategies like lighting a fire with no matches. The firepit might act as a workshop for educating children about camping and survival skills.

While this could be risky, it may be a valuable ability for kids to have. As well as this, fire safety techniques demonstrated, providing another fun activity for the family.

Charcoal Firepit – How to start 

Buy a fire starter prefered, but a tissue paper soaked in cooking oil or any DIY fire starters would suffice. White kerosene firelighters, natural firelighters, Fibre-Lighters, are available on the market as substitutes. A charcoal fire will also require high-quality dry Kindling and smokeless coal.

As is usual, keep the fire pit clean. Place coal in the fire pit centre, along with two Fire Lighters or fire starters or a rolled-up tissue paper dipped in cooking oil. A little kindling around the fire-starters and gas will help get the fire ignited and spark the fire starters. You might also use Tinder instead of the fire-starters if necessary, but since it’s coal, it should blaze well.

 Easy way to start your fire summarized.  

To begin, prepare ahead of time by shielding safe locations and concealing the firepit. In your neighbourhood, keep an eye out for weather conditions situations that can lead to a wildfire.

Long matches or a long-neck lighter are recommended for less chance of burning. Make use of a Tinder or a tinder-like material. Use a fire starter to get the fire started. A fire starter should help you create your fire quickly; choose and select decent Kindling or a variety of Kindling, preferably dry.

Make use of aged hardwood that is of high quality. Finally, build your fire based on your personal preferences. The pyramid is the most straightforward approach. However, you might want to experiment with others.

Kindling Lighting-Firestarter
FireStarter Fire Pit photo From my phone


The DIY fire starter with a tinder pile is the most convenient way to start a wood firepit. In certain circumstances, this makes the procedure quick and easy. I’ve always used the pyramid method for the best firewood placement for starting a fire, and my study seemed to prove this. Other approaches worth noting include crisscrossing them and the Leaning survival technique.

I’m now prepared if I run out of matches, and I have a tinder box flint on hand but relieved to know there are loads of alternatives. Having discussed the simplest method of starting a fire and everything in between, including equipment, protection, and necessities, and other types of firepits.

I am confident that you can devise a better solution for yourself based on the information provided in this article.

Additionally, take comfort in the fact that whatever the situation, you know the simplest way to fire up, heat up, and appreciate the warmth of a Firepit in your backyard.

Thank you for visiting 

Sources of information

Meals, G. (2020, August 14). How to Start a Fire Without Matches | 11 Methods. Greenbelly Meals. https://www.greenbelly.co/pages/how-to-start-a-fire-without-matches

Tamaki, T. G. A. A.-O. (2007, September 24). Māori fire-making kit. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. https://teara.govt.nz/en/artwork/13793/maori-fire-making-kit

Wild Grit Callie Waldschmidt [ Wild Grit]. (2020, November 7). Homemade Fire Starters with a 10+ Minute Burn Time! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4g1coyFzi8

5 thoughts on “Easy Ways to Start Fire in an Outdoor Fire Pit”

  1. We used to use newspapers, then place some twigs on top of the paper, and light. Once you have a nice flame going, add larger pieces of wood until it’s burning strong! We even used the fire for cooking! LOL. Brings back memories! I am amazed by how many options there are actually. Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips! It’ll surely come in handy now that newspapers are hard to find, haha!

    • Yeah, I used newspaper a lot until I discovered these handy firestarters. The newspaper always burnt funny lots of smoke. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Much appreciated.

      Many Thanks 


      THE FUN HUB  

  2. So the same way you start a fire pit is the same way you would start any fire. I always thought that you use gas to start a fire pit. I wasn’t aware that there is so many other ways in which you can start a fire. Well you learn something new everyday so thank you for this very informative article 

  3. It might look like a simple subject that is easy to overlook. Who doesn’t know how to light a fire? That’s until the day we are caught up in a survival situation. We get to appreciate the weight of it. Warmth, and by extension fire, can determine whether you live or die out in the wilderness, especially once the sun goes down and it’s in the middle of winter. Thanks for showing us how to be resourceful by taking advantage of the environment around us to start a fire.

    • Thanks, Steve. Yes, it is taken for granted until someone runs out of gas in the lighter or the matches are misplaced, and it is windy.


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