How To Start A Fire In A Fireplace

Whether it’s out of necessity or for sheer romantic value, knowing how to properly light a fire in a fireplace is an excellent skill to have. Here are instructions for a literal hole in the wall fireplace that does not have a grate.

You’ll need:

  • Newspaper
  • Dry kindling
  • Dry hardwood logs
  • Long matches


1. Open the windows for thirty minutes prior to push the warm air from your house up into the flue. Light a match and hold it at the opening of the fireplace to make sure the air current is going out of your house so you don’t fill it with smoke—or end up starting a fire outside of the fireplace.

2. The arrangement of the logs should read like a not-equal sign: two parallel hardwood logs about a foot apart with one smaller log diagonally on top, one end on each log. This design allows the fire to breathe, whereas a straight up pile of wood would smother it. Crumple up your newspaper to fill the space on the bottom of the fireplace between the logs and stick your kindling between the newspaper and the diagonal log. fire-326479_640

3. Using a long match, light the newspaper in several places. The flames should poke out above the kindling and catch it, which will be signaled by crackling, eventually spreading to your diagonal log and large logs. Hardwood is a blessing and a curse; it’s tough to get going in a fireplace, but when it does it roars into the night.

After your fire gets going make sure to stoke it periodically, knocking off the ashy pieces with a fire poker, and put up a gate in front of it. If you’re going to be adding logs during the night, use safe gloves and place logs in a criss-cross fashion to keep the flow of air between them. You can also try using the vent free gas logs for your fireplace.


Most importantly, never leave a fire unattended.

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Stephanie Rivera
Stephanie resides in the northwest, formerly of the San Francisco bay; she fancies herself a poet and non-fiction writer with a wandering eye for the next story. Intagram: @smittystingray Tumblr:
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