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What should I do in order to safely enjoy having a fire in the fireplace?

Easy tips for starting your fire:

  1. Open the Damper (This is forgotten more often than most people care to admit.)
  2. Gather Ingredients (You will need three things to start a fire.)
    • Tinder: Crumpled up newspaper makes the best tinder. You can also use small twigs, pine needles, or pine cones.
    • Kindling: Large twigs, small branches, and small splits of wood anywhere from 1/4″ to 1″ in thickness will do. This is the most important ingredient for building a good fire and usually the most over looked.
    • Fuel: Use only well-seasoned hardwood. If you have to burn softwoods, be certain they are well seasoned. Look for split, dry wood that has been stacked for up to a year. Loose bark and cracks in the ends are signs of seasoned wood.
  3. Start the Fire: Arrange two small to medium sized pieces of firewood on the grate, and place some crumpled up newspaper for tinder between logs. Now cover the tinder with several pieces of kindling. Be generous with the kindling – it’s the most important element in starting your fire. Now, place two more pieces of firewood on top of the kindling and two more at right angles to these two. Leave some space between the logs for air circulation.
  4. Warm up the Flue: For fireplaces, warm up the flue by holding a piece of burning rolled-up newspaper in the (opened) damper region for 10-15 seconds. This helps the flue establish a good draft. Then light the tinder. Within a few minutes, you should have a nice, hot roaring fire!