Building a campfire or a fireplace at home can be both cozy and a great way to naturally heat these places. When the flame starts to subside, you can easily increase it and keep the fire burning by adding new materials such as kindling and firewood.
Method 1 of 3: Keeping the Flame Lit Outdoors
Step 1. Get flammable materials and kindling
Kindling and flammable materials are small pieces of wood, string or paper that facilitate the production of fire. Flammable materials refer to objects that burn easily, where only a small spark is able to light the fire. Wood sticks are more substantial and sustain fire. In this sense, both compounds are needed to create a good, long-lasting flame.
- Efficient flammable materials: newspapers, cotton swabs and paper towels (if you have them at camp). When you need materials from nature, use dried leaves, catkins down and birch bark.
- Good types of sticks: dry branches as well as small, thin pieces of wood (sticks, broken tree branches, etc.). Dried leaves apply here as well.
- Keeping a fire burning is about a cycle. Start with the flammable material, then the sticks and, at the end, the firewood. It is necessary to repeat the entire process so as not to let the fire go out.
Step 2. Use dry wood
All types of wood you use to make the fire must be completely dry, as moisture can make it difficult to maintain the fire and produce a large smoke. When you don't have dry wood, use twice as many sticks and flammable materials to keep up with the humidity.
- Do not use wood from newly cut trees, as they contain a lot of moisture, which will hinder fire support.
- Dry wood, or cured, is the best, as it is wood that has been drying for months or years. When the wood is cured correctly, it will catch fire easily and will hold the flame well.
- When at a camp or in the bush, look for fallen logs or find an older tree and cut it down. Oak and birch are great hardwoods that produce a blazing fire, burn for a long time, and keep the flame burning.
Step 3. Start with coniferous wood and sustain the fire with hardwood
Consider the options of using hardwood or coniferous wood. In short, conifers are good for starting a fire and the law has the role of keeping it.
- Conifers, such as pine and spruce, catch fire quickly but burn quickly. When trying to keep a fire going, add some coniferous wood to increase the size of the flame in a moment.
- The law one takes longer to ignite, but it lasts much longer and burns much harder.
- A solution to keep the fire burning is to start it with the conifer and change to the law when the flame is good, stable and with some embers.
Step 4. Create an air passage to vent the fire
It is important to check that the fire has sufficient ventilation on all sides. In this case, before putting the firewood, make the fire on top of a grid and place some paper (newspaper, for example) on top of it, exactly in the middle of the fire.
- Stack the new logs you are placing and leave a good space between them for adequate ventilation.
- Add more flammable material and sticks constantly to open up spaces between logs.
- Blow out the fire when lighting it to increase the size of the flame.
- When you need to quickly relight a fire that has gone out, make a pile of all the embers and use them as a base for stacking more kindling and flammable materials. Then, when a flame appears, add more firewood (in this part, the ideal is to use coniferous wood).
Method 2 of 3: Keeping the Fire Burning During the Rain
Step 1. Start with a small fire
Even when it's raining, or if it's been raining recently and you don't have dry wood, you can still keep the fire going, but it will take more time and effort.
- Focus on creating a small flame at the fire pit, as the larger the wet area and materials to burn, the harder it is to generate enough heat to make a lasting fire.
- Use too many sticks and flammable materials. Don't try to light an entire log right away. Try to create a flame using paper and pieces of wood.
- Birch trees have a good bark that catches fire quickly, even in the rain, as they have natural oils that cancel out moisture.
- When possible, place a tarp, or other type of covering, over the fire to protect it from rain. Also, be careful and leave a space between the fire and the cover to prevent a fire.
Step 2. Cover the wood with a towel before burning it
Use a dry towel, or clothes (also dry), to cover the firewood and all the materials you'll be using for the fire. Dry the wood and try to absorb as much moisture as possible.
- When you suspect that rain may fall, grab a container before going out on the street and fill it with dry branches, pine cones and pine needles. An oat can is perfect for storing small sticks and keeping them dry.
- When building a fire in the street, it is always good to have a little extra wood that has been drying, in case it rains.
Step 3. Use smaller logs, kindling and anything that is handy
A shoot of sticks and small logs will burn easier individually than a single large log. In addition, you can also light anything you burn to start the fire or sustain it.
- Waterproof matches, a lighter or a flint are the best bets for creating a sparking flame.
- Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can also be used as fuel. Chocolate and marshmallows are other good options.
- If you have an ax or something else to cut the logs, use it. Cut the logs in half to expose the dry part, lift them up and turn the dry part of the bark towards the fire.
Method 3 of 3: Keeping Fire Burning Indoors
Step 1. Remove accumulated ash from the fireplace before starting a new fire
A 2.5 cm to 5 cm bed of ash should be maintained as this will help protect the furnace floor as well as hold the embers and radiate heat.
- Excess ash at the base of the fireplace can build up, hindering the quick and proper burning of any material that is added.
- This excess can also pose a potential health hazard.
Step 2. Feed the fire constantly
When it looks like the fire is going to go out, use a long stick or tweezers to handle the logs and blow them out to provide oxygen. Keep handling the fire until it is stable again, otherwise it will go out for sure.
- Use tongs to hold the embers together. Hot (reddish) embers burn intensely and will provide enough heat to ignite flammable materials, kindling, and conifers. As they accumulate with the tweezers, the embers will become hotter and hotter, retaining heat for a long time.
- As the wood turns into charcoal, make it redden with pinching and puffs of air. Then add more flammables, kindling and firewood, respectively.
Step 3. Add sticks and flammable matter constantly
Sometimes, when you have a fire in the fireplace at home, certain pieces of wood logs may not retain enough heat to catch fire. As a way to make it burn longer, add more sticks and flammables often, before adding the wood, to increase the flames and heat. In this case, the wood will burn a little more easily when it is placed later.
- When you have a raised grate in the fireplace, place the sticks and flammables under the grate so the flames can grow under the firewood.
- When there is no space under the firewood, thread the materials between the logs with tweezers.
Step 4. Add the hardwood
Put new logs on the fire so that there is room and the flames can breathe. In other words, don't smother the fire you've built up until now.
- Larger hardwoods are great for sustaining a fire that is already burning. When the fire is strong enough, the hardwood will start to burn in a short time.
- If the fire is dying, mix some coniferous wood to instantly increase the flames.
- Never put on fire:
- Little cans;
- plastic bottles;
- candy papers;
- Treated wood (sawn);
- Wood from newly cut trees.
- You can use an alcohol gel lighter. It is an alcohol-based, super flammable product. Just apply it to the wood and light it for the fire to burn intensely for a few minutes (some brands can keep the fire going for a few hours, depending on the amount of gel used). It's a useful method to light a fire without a headache, and even Vaseline works well in this case.
- Before lighting a fire indoors, try to leave the room well ventilated.
- Always be careful when dealing with fire.
- Never leave fire alone. It is vital that someone is always taking care not to have an accident.
- Learn how to put out fires, report a fire to the emergency and use a fire extinguisher.