Ever since the Stone Age, humans have been building fires to stay warm and to stay alive since the dawn of time. Before gas and electricity, wood was the only fuel source known to man and after thousands of years, you would probably assume that the method used to light a fire has changed, but surprisingly, the main principles of this task has remained the same. You must understand the elements needed to start a fire and once you have that, you can light fires right, left and centre. There are three components of Starting a fire and you will need all three to succeed. These are fuel, air and heat – so let’s get started!
1st Component = Fuel
When starting a fire with wood, you need to make sure that it has been correctly seasoned. Seasoned wood basically means that it is dry whilst unseasoned wood means that it is wet. You can use a moisture meter to determine the percentage of moisture contained in wood by simply sticking the two points into the surface of the logs. Burning wet wood has a lot of disadvantages such as the risk of fires being increased, creosote depository is heightened and the moisture contained in the wood tends to use up most of the fires energy, making it more difficult to keep the fire going.
Other kinds of fuel for lighting traditional fires includes pine needles, wood shavings, milk weed fluff and other natural tinder materials. Newspaper and twigs are also great sources to use when lighting a fire. Many people like to use kindling fuels such as small branches and split logs, which also work quite nicely. However, logs still remain as the most popular type of fuel. Once you have the fuel sorted out, you are one step closer towards making a blazing warm fire.
2nd Component = Air
The second component to set up a glorious fire is air. If your grate has too many ashes build up beneath it, this may hinder the fire’s ability to access sufficient air flow. Make sure that this doesn’t happen by regularly cleaning cold ashes from the fireplace. Some fires don’t require much air because of negative air pressure which could result in backdrafts. Ventilate the area by opening the window but no matter what, make sure that there is enough air accessing the fire at all times.
3rd Component = Heat
Heat is of course an essential part of starting a great fire. Back in the ‘olden days’ this was a bit of a problem and people would have to scratch stones together for hours to stimulate even the tiniest spark. Nowadays however, we can simply use lighters and matches to get a fire going. The best way to do this is with a long match because using liquid accelerants can be quite dangerous.