Fire has long been essential to survival having provided a means of warmth, light, cooking food and protection from wild animals. The transfixing dance of the flames has mesmerised humans from its first discovery and still to this day is a popular focal point at social events. We are sure that many of you would agree that nothing beats those long summer evenings sharing stories and laughing the night away with friends and family around the warm glow of the flames. But lighting a fire outside is notoriously tricky to get right with smokiness often being responsible for spoiling the atmosphere. We have put together some tips that will help you to get on the right track:
Use kiln dried logs – it is crucial that your logs have a low moisture content as not only is wet wood difficult to light, it tends to smoulder and is harmful to the environment. Kiln-dried logs are therefore recommended as they are quick to light, have a high heat output keeping smokiness to a minimum and are gentler on the environment. At Nene Valley Firewood all our logs are dried to below 18% moisture. They have also been approved by the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn Scheme’ so you can rest assured that our logs will burn efficiently and safely.
Check the wind direction and start early – before you begin, think about where your guests will be seated and try to have the wind blowing away from you if possible. Remember to light your firepit away from flammable objects like overhanging trees. We recommend getting your fire started early before your guests arrive so any early smoke will have gone and your firepit will be up to temperature to keep your guests toasty warm.
Keep ash to a minimum – before you get the fire going we advise removing excess ash. A small layer is ok as hot coals from the night before can nestle in there helping you to get your fire started, but when left to build up the ash prevents air flow. Once cooled, the ash you remove can be used to supplement the soil for non-acid loving plants due to its high levels of calcium as well as other nourishing minerals.
Start small and build up – start by lighting an eco firelighter and surrounding it with a wigwam shape of dried kindling to get your fire started. Then add some thinner logs in a vertical formation. Make sure your fire is nice and hot before adding larger logs. Grouping the logs vertically can really reduce the smokiness of your firepit.
Allow space between logs – it can be tempting to throw a load of logs on your fire but smothering it will starve it of oxygen so make sure to allow some space between logs to promote a healthy air flow.
If you have any tips we’d love to hear from you! You can find everything you need to light your firepit on our website.