How to Build a Fireplace Fire

It’s a chilly evening in Red River. The snow continues to fall on the mountain without any indication of slowing down while the winter wind comes knocking on the door. Instead of inviting the arctic air inside, throw some wood in the fireplace and ignite the flames. The heat of the hearth emits a relaxing glow, warming the room to a toasty temperature.

This sounds like a normal winter night around here. But for folks who spend their time a little closer to sea level, starting a fire might not be as easy as it seems. If you’ve never started a fireplace fire before then you’re in luck, cause I’ve been known to make a roaring fire! First, let’s gather all the materials we’ll need to get our flames blazing.

Materials you’ll need for a fire:

  • Large logs of wood
  • Smaller pieces of wood (medium-sized sticks and branches)
  • Kindling (small branches and twigs, dry brush, etc)
  • Newspapers
  • Lighters/matches

How To Build a Fireplace Fire

Now that you have all the materials you need, it’s time to get this fire lit. There are 5 steps to take while preparing a fire in a fireplace.

  1. Clear chimney of blockages
  2. Open the damper
  3. Warm up the flue
  4. Create an ash bed
  5. Build your fire

If it’s been awhile since using your fireplace it’s important to make sure your chimney is clear of blockages. There’s no need for our guests to worry about this step though since we make sure all of our chimneys are serviced each fall. Once the chimney is clear, make sure the damper is open. If the damper is closed, the smoke will have no way to get out and will eventually fill your house.

Now that the smoke can effectively escape the chimney, leaving only the heat of the fire, it’s time to start warming things up. To prevent the cold air currently trapped in the flue from sinking into the house, you will want to warm it up by lighting some newspaper and holding it near the damper to heat the air inside.

Before placing any logs into the fireplace, make sure to prepare a small ash bed in the fireplace. This helps to insulate the fireplace, resulting in hotter fires. Now it’s time to start building! There are several fire-building methods, but there are two that I’ve found give me the best results.

The traditional way of fire building is to start with kindling and smaller pieces of wood on the bottom, with larger logs on top. You then will take your matches or lighters to light the kindling first and have the fire spread to the larger logs. To save you from having to gather your own kindling, we provide our guests with all the needed materials.

Another popular way to build a fire is the “upside down” fire method. This is essentially the same process of traditional fire building, just built with larger logs on the bottom and the kindling on top.

However you choose to build your fire, it’s important to remember never to leave a fire unattended. Reservations Unlimited provides firewood to all our homes with fireplaces, and there are fire starters available in the office by request. Please make sure to properly dispose of all fire materials and never throw hot ashes out.

Now that you know how to get those flames blazing, what are you waiting for? Baby, it’s cold outside, so let’s go home and start a fire.

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