It’s a cold winters night, the winds are blowing up a storm outside, you’re house is freezing and with the price of electricity, you don’t want to resort to energy guzzling heaters to keep you nice and toasty, and hey, you have that musty old fireplace taking up space in the corner. Alternatively, for the first time in months it’s warm out, you can step outside without feeling like frostbite is trying to chew away at your toes. You don’t want to waste this weather by cooking and eating inside of all places.
Whatever side of the world you’re on, there’s always a chance to make use of man’s greatest achievement, the subjugation of fire.
It’s been a while since we relied on fire to keep us alive though, and nowadays, it seems starting one can pose a few of us quite the challenge. Never fear, follow these steps and you’ll be blazing away in no time.
*Note, please do not light yourself on fire, keep all flames and coals safely tucked within the grill or fireplace*
Now first things first, if you are using a fireplace for this, before starting, check to see that the chimney is clear. Especially if it hasn’t been used in a while, ashes, creosote and tar buildup, to say nothing of the birds that could have nested there, can clog up a perfectly good chimney and turn your fire into a smoke spewing nightmare. If the chimney is clogged, you may need to get a chimney sweep, which nowadays is easy as dialing a number and scheduling an appointment. If the chimney is fine, then lets proceed to the next step.
Gather your materials.
To start your very own fire, you will need:
- Fire wood, hardwood firewood is best if you want a long burning blaze.
- Some kindling, just a couple sticks of softwood will do fine.
- Tinder, this is just, something that catches alight real easy, think newspaper, dried leaves, things like that.
- Some matches or a lighter (or a blow torch)
- An accelerant such as firelighters, fire gel, or kerosene if you don’t want to put too much work into this.
Now that you’ve got everything, it’s time to start with the fun part, actually starting the fire.
First, make sure the surface you’re building on is nice and dry, then lay down your tinder in a tight little pile in the center. Arrange the kindling around this like you’re building it a triangular house, thing the teepees used by Native Americans. Now light take your matches and light up that tinder. If you need to, shift the kindling around to help it catch the flames coming off the tinder. Once the softwood kindling is lit and properly burning away, carefully at on your hard woods, if you drop it on, it might crush out the flames and you’ll have to start again. Within a few minutes, you should have a wonderful, toasty fire to either braai those lamb chops or warm up you icy toes. It should be noted than almost all fires are great for roasting marshmallows.