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Set the Night on Fire

How to Build Different Kinds of Fires

By  | Log Splitter Product Expert

We use fire every day to cook, heat our homes, spark gasoline for transportation, burn candles, light fireworks, and much more.

But do you know how to build a fire? Did you know there are various ways to build a fire?

We'll discuss some of the many ways, but we'll let you decide which way's the best way to light your fire.

Prepare the AreaMake Your Bed
Before anything else, you need to prepare a safe place for building a fire. Pick a place away from brush, tall grasses, tree branches, and any dry foliage.

Build your fire on a flat surface that's either blanketed in sand and dirt or circled with large stones. This will help prevent your flames from spreading.

Remove any rocks or debris from the area in which you plan to build your fire. Now you're ready to start building.

Gather SuppliesGather Supplies
You'll need a source of fire, such as a lighter, matches, or a flint. This will be used to ignite your fire.

You'll also need to collect firewood. Collect small, medium, and large pieces of wood. Also collect tinder and kindling (very small, dry, flammable materials like paper, twigs, dryer lint, wood chips, leaves, etc.).

Finally, collect a pan or bucket of water for extinguishing your fire when you're done with it. This can also be carefully drizzled to control any spreading flames or sparks.

Building a Tipi FireTipi Fire
The most commonly used, most effective, and easiest method to learn is the tipi fire. To build a tipi fire, stick a forked branch in the ground, centered in the middle of your fire bed and lean several slightly larger sticks against it.

The idea is to create a tipi shape that focuses the flames inward towards the center and allows air flow through the sides. As the flames grow, add slightly larger and larger pieces of firewood to the outside with even weight distribution.

As the fire picks up, the wood will fall inward, and you can place more wood over the top to keep it burning for as long as you like.

Building a Star FireStar Fire
Building upon the tipi fire, the star fire makes it easier and more efficient to continuously feed the flame. Build a small tipi fire to get things started. Once the fire gets going, place five medium-sized logs around it with their ends pointing into the center.

Evenly space them like a star, then slowly move them into the flame a little at a time to keep them burning. Throughout the night, you can use larger and larger pieces of firewood to reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep it going.

For a smaller fire that uses less wood, you can make a three-point star. Continue to push the wood inward, but don't increase the size of the logs.

Building a Log Cabin FireLog Cabin Fire
Many people have heard of this method as well. If you've ever played with Lincoln Logs, you already have some experience building one of these. You can, again, start with a small tipi as your fire starter, then build the cabin around it.

Lay your two largest logs parallel to one another, but space them out about six-inches to a foot with the tipi in the middle. Lay another set of parallel logs perpendicular to and across the first pair, raising them off the ground. Continue building upwards to create a log cabin type structure.

Once you've achieved your desired height, you can light the tipi in the center and let it burn. The cabin structure will help to block wind while also fueling the burn.

Building a Platform FirePlatform Fire
This takes log cabin fires to a new level. Save the tipi for last with this one. You'll want to lay three or four large pieces of firewood parallel to one-another, but with no gaps. Keep them close and touching like a platform.

Lay an equal number of slightly smaller pieces perpendicular across the first layer, then continue crisscrossing even-sized layers of firewood until you've reached your desired height.

Build a moderate sized tipi with tinder and kindling atop the platform. Light the tipi and continue to add small kindling to it until the logs beneath begin burning strong. As time goes by, it'll burn down into the middle of the structure, making for a slow-burning and low-maintenance fire.

Building a Lean To FireLean To Fires
This last method is great for getting a fire going in inclement weather because it blocks out the wind long enough to get it burning hot. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can just lean several small pieces of firewood against a large log and light a tipi under it, but there's a better way for those willing to do more prep work.

Find a long, narrow, green branch. Prop it up as much as possible against a large piece of firewood. Use another large piece of firewood to weigh down the end that's pointing into the wind. This should leave the other end sticking up in the air in the direction the wind is blowing.

Lean very thin pieces of firewood against the green branch on both sides in a crisscross pattern to create a church-style frame. Then lean larger pieces of firewood in the same fashion over them. This will create a barrier to block out the wind. Build a small tipi structure inside the lean to and light it up. Once it falls in on itself, it'll be burning strong enough to withstand the inclement weather.

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