How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit (Step by Step)

The fire pit has become a popular feature in many homes nowadays. Whether it is for cooking, warmth or to just have a good time with friends and family, there are plenty of reasons why people love this type of outdoor area.

The “how to start a fire in a metal fire pit” is a step-by-step guide on how to start a fire in a metal fire pit.

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The roar of a fire blazing late into the night may be a great way to unwind after a hard day or just prolong your get-together with friends and family. A fire pit, which is both visually beautiful and comforting, may transform a drab backyard into a fun and welcoming space for making warm memories. 


A fire pit is a terrific addition to any backyard, and there are many different shapes and kinds to choose from, such as wood burning, propane, and natural gas fire pits. Each one has its own unique way for starting a fire.

It’s also crucial to know how to light a fire in a fire pit safely to protect yourself and people around you. 


Contents Table of Contents

  • Prepare the Fire Pit Area in a Safe Way 
  • Getting Supplies for a Fire Pit 
  • Getting the Fire Pit Going 
  • Putting Out the Fire in a Safe Way 
  • After a fire, clean the fire pit.
  • Other Fire Pit Alternatives
  • The Best Ways to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit 


Prepare the Fire Pit Area in a Safe Way 

Check your local rules for fire pit restrictions before trying to start any fire. Also, make sure you’re putting up in a safe manner so that individuals around and in the area aren’t placed in danger. When lighting a fire in a fire pit, the avoidance of flames and injuries must be your first priority. 

When lighting a fire in your fire pit, remember to observe these safety precautions:

  • Leveling the fire pit: Make sure your fire pit is situated on level ground. This is especially important if you’re utilizing an above-ground fire pit construction since it won’t readily tip over and spill toxic materials when lighted. 
  • Safe ground material and surface: It’s also a good idea to choose a fire-resistant substance for this level ground. You should not start a fire if there is a lot of dry grass or combustible plant debris nearby. It’s best to make your fire pit out of materials like concrete or brick that won’t catch fire if sparks or flames come into touch with them.
  • Maintain a safe distance from structures and buildings: A good rule of thumb is to keep the fire pit at least 10 feet away from any structures (Source: Smokey Bear). Furthermore, fire pits should never be put underneath any tree branches, since embers might rise up and catch fire. 
  • Nearby water source: Have a garden hose or bucket of water on hand in case you need to put out a fire in an emergency.
  • Utilize fire pit screens whenever possible: If your fire pit comes with a screen, you should always use it. This provides enough heat and excitement for people who are enjoying it, but also prevents embers or combustible things from escaping the fire pit. 
  • Keep your distance: Chairs should be placed a safe distance away from the fire pit so that no one falls into the flames if one falls over. 
  • Children should be kept away from fire since it may be highly appealing and thrilling to them. Keep an eye on them whenever they’re near a fire and don’t allow them to come too close to the pit.
  • Never leave a fire unattended: Many of the dangers listed above may be avoided if the fire is constantly monitored by an adult. A fire should be kept under close supervision until it is safely extinguished at the end of the evening. 

Before any fire is made or started, certain safety measures must be covered and prepared for. By going through these safety precautions with everyone who will be near the fire ahead of time, attendees will be better prepared and follow the rules. 

Getting Supplies for a Fire Pit 

We may begin the fire construction process by collecting the essential supplies now that your fire pit is on level ground and situated a safe distance from buildings or things that may pose a threat. We’ll show you how to make a classic fire pit from the ground up, which is a vital skill to know for both fire pits and igniting wildfires. 


To start a fire, you’ll need the following four items: 

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  • Lighters and matches are the most frequent forms of fire starters, but the list does not end there. The use of a butane torch lighter is a sure-fire approach to get the flames going quickly. Arc lighters are another option to explore since they are rechargeable and environmentally safe. At all times, make sure items are out of reach of youngsters. 
  • Tinder: This fuel is necessary for your fire since it burns quickly. Dry grass, newspaper, leaves, tree bark, and straw are all examples of tinder. The idea is to keep these materials dry so they don’t catch fire readily. Because you only need a minimal quantity to ignite the other components, this will be the smallest part of your fire.
  • Kindling is the stuff that catches fire when it comes into contact with tinder. This is made out of little dry sticks with a diameter of less than one inch. Kindling ranges in length from five to eight inches. It’s important for kindling to be thin because it needs to catch fire quickly. Your fire will be less effective if it takes too long to catch. 
  • Firewood: Dried out wood, ideally kiln-dried firewood, should be the foundation of your fire; avoid collecting any green or damp wood. It’s totally up to you what kind of wood you harvest. Certain types of firewood burn hotter and longer than others; for example, oak burns quite hot and lasts much longer than pine. The length of the wood should be determined by the size of your fire pit, although it will typically be sixteen inches. You may want to consider getting a firewood rack to keep things tidy.

The quantity of materials you collect will be determined by the size of the fire pit and the length of time you want to burn. Only kindling and tinder will be required to ignite the fuel. If you have additional firewood on hand, you can keep the fire going longer. 

Getting the Fire Pit Going 

We may begin developing the arrangement to ignite your fire after all of the supplies have been acquired. There are many methods for constructing a fire pit, but they all follow the same principles. 


The stages for organizing the fire pit items for good lighting are as follows: 

  1. In the middle of the fire pit, place your tinder: The tinder should be approximately the size of your fist, mounded up. You’ll start the fire from the bottom of the pit, enabling the tinder to catch the kindling as it burns. 
  2. After the tinder has been laid, it’s time to start laying the wood in the fire pit. The Teepee, Log Cabin (Criss Cross), and Lean-to are the three most common fire pits. In the end, the choice of whatever layout works best is all yours. These will determine where the kindling and fuel will be placed: 
  1. Teepee Fire: Arrange your kindling in a teepee shape with the tinder underneath the tip of your Teepee. Make a hole in the kindling teepee to ignite the tinder while enabling oxygen to feed the fire. The kindling feeds wood to the flames as the fire starts to burn.
  1. This plan employs the same tinder and kindling location as the Teepee design, but for the wood placement, you’ll start by arranging two pieces of wood parallel to each other, with your Teepee exactly in the middle. Then, perpendicular to the other pieces, place two additional pieces of kindling to make a square. Carry on in this manner until you have three layers.
  1. If there is a breeze or wind, lean-to is an excellent option. Place one piece of firewood in your fire pit that runs perpendicular to the wind’s direction of travel. After that, set your tinder against the firewood, making sure it’s in the middle of the fire pit. After that, slant the kindling so that it touches the firewood and the fire pit while the tinder is exactly underneath it.
  1. Ignite your tinder: After you’ve finished building your arrangement, reach in and gently light your tinder. When igniting the tinder, be cautious, particularly if it is difficult to reach. When lighted, it should not pose an immediate risk, but make sure there is no loose clothes or hair in the path. 
  2. Adjust wood placement: As the firewood starts to ignite, you may find that circling it with a poker may assist the kindling get the greatest exposure to the wood. This is something we only advocate if it’s absolutely essential. Only make adjustments if your current posture puts you at danger of slipping out of the firepit or sitting too near to the edge. 
  3. Adding firewood: As the kindling starts to burn, you may add the firewood in small increments. This guarantees that you don’t suffocate the fire by depriving it of oxygen. When there is a bed of red-hot embers, you will detect the need for additional fuel. This is your cue to add extra firewood, otherwise you risk putting out the fire too soon. 
  4. Put the fire pit cover on: If you have a fire pit cover, keep it on to keep the fire going and keep people safe. Unless you’re adding firewood or making other modifications, keep this on at all times. 

Every time you build a fire, the procedure will be quite same. Consider experimenting with several lighting options to see which is the safest and most effective for your fire pit. 

Putting Out the Fire in a Safe Way 

You’ll want to know how to put out your fire now that your quiet evening or raucous celebration is coming to an end. Allowing the remaining wood in the fire pit to burn down to ashes is critical. Allow an hour for this process to complete; if you want to give the wood a chance to cool down, don’t add any additional firewood.  

It’s vital to check your owner’s handbook for most fire pits at this point since some manufacturers recommend letting the fire burn out naturally without the use of water. Allow for some cooling time before pouring water over the remaining coals, since water on hot metal will shatter your fire pit.

  • Fill the container halfway with water. After the fire pit has gone to ashes and has had time to cool, you may start gently pouring water into the fire pit. You may hear sizzling noises as you pour, which is entirely normal. Adding water is another safety measure to guarantee that the fire does not continue to burn while you are away from the pit.  
  • Wet ashes should be stirred. Stir the wet ashes using a shovel to ensure that they have totally cooled and are no longer able to ignite. Make sure that every ember inside the ashes has been saturated. This will ensure that the fire in your fire pit is properly extinguished. The next step is to check the area for any embers or ash that may have escaped the fire pit. These may easily fall into the surrounding environment, especially if there isn’t a cover on them. 

After a fire, clean the fire pit.

Cleaning the fire pit is the last step, and it should be done after each usage. This includes the following: 

  • Remove moist embers using a metal bucket with a cover nearby. This will guarantee that the surrounding area is safe and that the fire pit is kept clean. 
  • Gather more tinder, kindling, and firewood: Store excess tinder, kindling, and firewood in a secure, dry location where you can readily get it for the next fire. All fire starters and combustible objects should be kept out of reach of children and pets. 
  • When leaving the fire pit outdoors, if at all feasible, cover it with metal or a cover. This keeps the drying embers from causing a mess in your yard and makes cleaning up the leftovers the following day much simpler. 

Because of the dangers of leaving a fire unattended at the conclusion of a wonderful evening, putting it out properly is just as vital as starting it! 

Other Fire Pit Alternatives

If starting a fire from scratch in your pit seems too difficult and time-consuming, you may choose for a simpler approach. Instead of wood, propane or natural gas may be used to power fire pits. These are sometimes more costly over time than wood, but they provide a higher degree of convenience and eliminate the need for cleaning. 

  • Propane. Propane fire pits start with a touch of a button, and although they don’t provide as much heat as a wood-burning fire pit, they are far easier to maintain. However, compared to their natural gas equivalents, the expense of refilling the bottles may be rather high. In certain parts of the nation, natural gas is one-sixth the price of propane.
  • Natural gas is a renewable energy source. Natural gas fire pits, unlike propane fire pits, are supplied by a gas line, necessitating expert installation. This will restrict the number of places in your yard where you may put the fire pit. These fire pits may save you time and money by eliminating the need to replenish a tank if you have a defined location that makes sense for the gas line and the flow of your yard. 

Because of their simplicity of use and the advantages of not burning materials into the environment, these gas solutions have grown increasingly popular for fire pits. You don’t have to smell like wood anymore, and your carbon impact is significantly reduced. They may also be a standout item in the yard, with nice colored pebbles and interesting design characteristics. 

The Best Ways to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit 

Starting a fire in a fire pit is a fun and entertaining pastime if you follow all safety precautions before, during, and after the fire. Every year, fire departments in the United States react to over one million fires, the majority of which are domestic (Source: National Fire Protection Association). To avoid greater mishaps and casualties, more caution is required while creating a fire pit in your yard. 

While flames are dangerous, being prepared can help you not only avoid fires but also react promptly in the case of an emergency. In a tiny fire pit situation, having a nearby water supply will be really beneficial. If the fire grows too huge and impossible to control, contact the fire department right away. Attempting to put out a large fire might endanger you and others. 

Fire pits are a great addition to outdoor parties for hanging out, toasting marshmallows, and keeping warm for long nights with family and friends if you keep these safety considerations in mind. 


In order to start a fire in a fire pit, you will need charcoal. Charcoal is made from wood that has been burned at high temperatures. You can start the fire by using newspaper or crumpled paper as tinder. Once the coals are glowing red, add kindling and small pieces of wood. Reference: how to start a fire in a fire pit with charcoal.

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