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The Dos and Don’ts of Firestarting: Tips from the Pros

The Dos and Don'ts of Firestarting: Tips from the Pros

Firestarting? Here are the ‘Dos' and ‘Don'ts' from the pros!


  • Gather kindling, dry grass, twigs, and sticks.
  • Use a firestarter, such as a lighter or matches.
  • Add larger wood pieces to the fire as it grows.
  • Keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby.


  • Don't use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Don't build a fire directly on the ground. Use a fire pit or ring.
  • Don't leave a fire unattended. Extinguish it completely before leaving.

Stay safe and enjoy a successful firestarting experience! Pro tip – keep a bag of cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly in your camping gear.

Dos for Firestarting

Firestarting is a helpful skill for any outdoor lover. It takes practice, but is valuable. For beginners or those wanting to better their technique, here are some tips for successful firestarting:

Choose the right firestarter

Choosing the right firestarter is imperative for a successful and secure firestarting experience. Experts suggest a combination of firestarters for various requirements and in different situations. Here are some pointers for picking the right firestarter:

  • Dryer lint: Lint from your dryer is perfect for tinder and is an eco-friendly option. Store it in a ziplock bag for when you need it.
  • Cotton balls: Petroleum jelly-soaked cotton balls are a dependable firestarter, especially in wet or windy conditions. Store them in a waterproof bag or container for future use.
  • Firestarter cubes: These cubes are made from wax and compressed sawdust, making them long-lasting and simple to use. They are perfect for larger or outdoor fire pits.
  • Kindling: Kindling are small sticks or twigs that assist with igniting bigger pieces of wood. Gather dry kindling ahead of time and store them in a dry and accessible place.

Avoid flammable liquids or fuels such as gasoline, which can be hazardous and cause uncontrolled fires. Always adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines and use firestarters responsibly.

Pro tip: Store different types of firestarters in a waterproof container and label them for easy retrieval and use during camping or outdoor activities.

Types of Firestarters

Firestarters come in numerous types, each with its own advantages, disadvantages and preferred uses. Let's look at the main ones:

  1. Matches: Traditional and portable, but unreliable in damp/windy weather. Wooden or paper.
  2. Lighters: Easy to use and provide a long-lasting flame. Can be affected by cold temps, though.
  3. Fire starters: Effectively ignite fires. Compressed sawdust, wax etc. May leave residue on hands.
  4. Magnesium fire starters: Create sparks to ignite. Durable and useful in emergencies. Need experience to use.

Always remember: keep a fire extinguisher or water source nearby. Don't leave a fire unattended!

Selecting the right type of firestarter for the situation

Choosing the right firestarter is key for starting a fire. Here are some tips:

  • If you're camping or hiking, go for lighter options like leaves, lint, or wax and sawdust.
  • At home, you can use traditional starters like kindling, newspaper, or charcoal lighter fluid. But remember to be safe when using flammable liquids indoors.
  • For wet wood, use firestarters designed for wet conditions like waterproof matches or gel.
  • Check the weather before starting a fire and use the right firestarter to prevent accidents.
  • Pro tip: Carry waterproof matches or a lighter for backup.

Prepare Your Fire Site

To have success when starting a fire, it's important to prepare the fire site correctly. Here are some tips:

  1. Select the right spot. Look for a place with enough space to make and manage the fire. Stay at least 15 feet away from any structures, tents, or trees.
  2. Clear the area. Take away any rubbish from the ground such as dry leaves, twigs, or grass that could catch fire and cause a wildfire.
  3. Collect firestarters. Gather small sticks, dry tinder, and kindling to give your fire a jumpstart. You also can use commercial fire starters, cotton balls, or dryer lint with petroleum jelly.
  4. Assemble the fire. Put the fire starters, tinder, and kindling to create a small teepee. Light it and add bigger sticks and logs to make it bigger.
  5. Monitor the fire. Never leave the fire by itself, and keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close.

Follow these dos and you'll have a safe and effective fire-starting experience.

How to prepare the fire site

Choosing the right spot for your fire is vital for successful firestarting, especially when you're outdoors. Here are some dos to remember:

  • Pick a safe, open area and find shelter from the wind.
  • Clear any debris and build a fire ring with rocks or a metal fire pit.
  • Use dry, seasoned firewood like oak, hickory, or maple.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand close by in case of emergency.
  • Pro tip: Utilize firestarter cubes or kindling to make the fire easier to light. But, don't give it too much fuel, as this can create dangerous, uncontrollable flames.

Choosing the location for your fire

Choosing the right spot for your fire is key for a successful camping or hiking trip. Follow these dos and don'ts for firestarting:


  • Look for pre-existing fire pits.
  • Clear a spot at least 10 feet from any flammable objects, like trees, shrubs, or dry leaves.
  • Choose a spot that's out of the wind.
  • Use a firestarter kit, like matches, lighters, or a magnesium striker.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby to put out the fire.


  • Don't build a fire directly on the ground.
  • Don't light a fire on a windy day.
  • Don't use flammable liquids, like gasoline or lighter fluid.
  • Don't leave your fire unattended – even a small fire can become a dangerous wildfire.

Build a Proper Fire

Getting the fire right is super important for having a nice and safe outdoor experience. Here are the do's for getting it right:

  • Do get the right wood. Pick wood that is dry, seasoned and not too thick for your fire pit or stove.
  • Do build it in the right way. Put kindling and wood together in either a teepee shape or log cabin pattern so air can flow through.
  • Do use the right firestarter. Use newspaper, special firestarter blocks, or whatever you've got. Just make sure you don't use too much.
  • Do stay safe. Always have a bucket of water or a shovel nearby to contain the flames and put it out in case of danger.

By following these do's, you'll be able to have a great time outdoors without worrying about the fire.

Building your fire

Firestarting? Here's what you must do and don't do!


  • Pick an area for the fire, such as a fire pit or camping area.
  • Clear away any flammable stuff, like leaves or branches.
  • Start with a small flame, like a match or lighter.
  • Gradually use kindling and larger logs to make the fire bigger.
  • Have a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergency.


  • No fires on windy days or if there's a fire ban.
  • Don't use gasoline or lighter fluid to light the fire.
  • Don't leave your fire alone or go to sleep without extinguishing it.
  • No burning plastic or Styrofoam.

Pro tip: Before starting a fire, always check local regulations and respect any bans in place.

Tips for maintaining your fire

When camping or having a cozy evening at home, maintaining your fire is essential! Here are 2 tips to keep it burning bright and strong:

  1. Fuel: Have enough fuel. Firewood? Keep a supply nearby. Charcoal? Add briquettes as needed.
  2. Oxygen: Vital for a healthy fire. Make space between logs or charcoal for air to flow. Don't pile too many logs on top.

Pro tip – Maintenance is key! Keep an eye on it, add fuel and make sure there is ventilation. By following these tips, you'll have a warm and cozy fire!

Don'ts for Firestarting

Firestarting? No-no! A few things to avoid. Wrong firewood? Don't use it. Wrong area? Don't start there. Let's look at the main don'ts to remember. Here we go!

Don't use Gasoline or Alcohol to ignite the fire

Using gasoline or alcohol to light a fire is not a smart move. These substances are highly flammable and can cause explosions which could be dangerous.

Better options are:

  1. Dry tinder like leaves, twigs, or paper.
  2. Kindling – small sticks or twigs that ignite easily.
  3. Fire starter cubes – designed for charcoal or wood.

Pro tip: Be careful when lighting a fire and make sure the area is clear.

The dangers of gasoline and alcohol as fire starters

Gasoline and alcohol are super flammable. So, never use them as fire starters! Why? Gasoline gives off flammable vapors that can spark and spread flames quickly. Plus, it can cause serious burns or explosions. Alcohol, too, is highly flammable and can ignite easily, even before it evaporates. Invisible flames can catch nearby items on fire. Pro Tip: Use kindling, dry leaves, and paper to start fires. Safer and more effective!

Alternatives to using gasoline and alcohol as fire starters

Using gasoline or alcohol as fire starters can be both dangerous and ineffective. Here are two alternatives to consider instead:

  1. Kindling – Gather twigs and small branches, then add larger logs on top. Use matches or a lighter to ignite the kindling. Add more wood as the fire catches.
  2. Dryer Lint – Collect lint from your clothes dryer and stuff it into an egg carton. Melt wax and pour it over the lint-filled cups. Once the wax has set, break off a cup and use it as a fire starter.

It's best to avoid using gasoline or alcohol as fire starters. Opt for safer and more effective alternatives like kindling or dryer lint. Start a fire easily and safely!

Don't burn trash or leave the fire unattended

Starting a fire can be a helpful skill. Whether for camping, or to warm your home. But there are certain things you should avoid. Don't burn trash, or leave it unattended. Burning trash can be bad for the environment. Unattended fires can be dangerous and can lead to wildfires.

Here are some dos and don'ts of firestarting:

  • Do clear the area of flammable materials.
  • Do use dry, seasoned firewood – it'll reduce smoke and help the fire burn evenly.
  • Don't use gasoline, lighter fluid, or any other accelerants. This can cause the fire to flare up and become hazardous.

Follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable experience.

The risks of burning trash

The burning of trash brings with it multiple risks, such as air pollution, soil contamination, and fire hazards. It is essential to prevent burning trash to protect the environment and your health. Here are some of the dangers connected with burning trash:

  • Air pollution – Burning trash releases dangerous chemicals and fumes that harm the air and lead to breathing problems.
  • Soil contamination – Burning garbage can generate hazardous toxins that get into the soil and water supply, causing damage to wildlife and people who drink contaminated water.
  • Fire hazards – Burning rubbish can quickly become out of control and result in wildfires, putting close-by homes and wildlife in danger.

To dodge these risks completely, it is best to discard of trash properly through recycling or using dedicated facilities. Do not burn trash in your garden or open fires. Pro Tip: Always check with your local fire department rules and regulations before lighting a fire.

The importance of never leaving a fire unattended

Never leave a fire unattended – be it a campfire or a fireplace. Here's why:

  • Fire is unstable and can quickly spread.
  • Sparks can fly and start other fires,
  • Wind can carry burning embers to other areas.
  • Animals and kids can wander too close and get hurt or cause the fire to spread.

Always watch the fire and never leave it alone, even for a few seconds. Have a fire extinguisher ready to use in case of an emergency. Fire safety is everyone's responsibility – be cautious and avoid disasters.

Don't build a fire where it's prohibited

Starting a fire where it's not allowed can cause severe damage to humans and the environment. Keep these things in mind while firestarting:

  • Don't make a fire on the ground or in arid areas.
  • Don't leave it alone, even for a bit.
  • Don't throw plastic, glass, or other waste into the fire.
  • Don't use fuel or other combustible substances to light it.
  • Don't set it up beneath low-hanging branches or close to anything flammable.
  • Don't build a large fire or use more wood than needed.

By following these don'ts, you can enjoy your fire safely and avoid any possible harm.

Rules and regulations of fire starting

When it comes to starting a fire, there are rules to follow for safety and success. Here are tips from the pros on what to do and what not to do:

  • Don't start a fire in a restricted or prohibited area.
  • Don't use flammable liquids like gasoline or lighter fluid.
  • Don't leave a fire burning unattended or overnight.
  • Do have water nearby in case of emergency.
  • Do use dry kindling and fire-starters.
  • Do build the fire in designated areas, like a fire pit or campfire ring.

Follow these rules and keep the dos and don'ts in mind when starting a fire for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Locations where fire starting is prohibited

It's important to know where fires are prohibited. This prevents accidents and environmental harm. Here are the places where fire starting isn't allowed:

  1. National parks and forests. They're protected, so fire can spread quickly.
  2. Areas with a high fire risk. E.g. dry or wooded places during dry spells and hot weather.
  3. Private property without permission from the owner.
  4. Campsites not permitting fires, or in areas with a fire ban.
  5. Public parks or beaches where open fires aren't allowed.

Check your local regulations before starting a fire. This ensures safety and prevents environmental damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some key dos for starting a fire?

A: Some key dos for starting a fire include using dry kindling or starter material, building a proper structure for the fire, and using a match or lighter to ignite the kindling.

Q: What are some key don'ts for starting a fire?

A: Some key don'ts for starting a fire include using gasoline or other flammable liquids as a starter, leaving a fire unattended, and starting a fire in an area that is dry or prone to wildfires.

Q: What is the best way to build a fire?

A: The best way to build a fire is to first clear the area around the fire pit or location. Next, stack the kindling in a small teepee or pyramid shape, then add larger pieces of wood in a criss-cross pattern on top. Finally, ignite the kindling with a match or lighter.

Q: How can I ensure my fire is safe?

A: You can ensure your fire is safe by choosing a safe location (preferably a designated fire pit), keeping a bucket of water or shovel nearby, and never leaving the fire unattended. It's also important to fully extinguish the fire before leaving the area.

Q: Can I start a fire if it's windy?

A: It is not recommended to start a fire if it is too windy, as the wind can quickly spread the flames and cause an uncontrollable wildfire. It is best to wait for calmer conditions before starting a fire.

Q: What should I do if the fire gets out of control?

A: If the fire gets out of control, immediately call 911 and evacuate the area. Do not attempt to put out a large fire on your own, as it can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

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