How to Start a Fire in Fireplace

This article describes how to quickly start a fire in a wood burning fireplace. Some home owners never use their fireplaces. Perhaps, because of smoke coming in due to a closed damper, or difficulties starting fire with wet firewood. But if you do things properly, there is so much joy having it around sometimes.

Step by Step Instructions

Here is a fireplace to start fire in.

Fireplace to start fire in
Fireplace to start fire in

Things Required

We need the following to quickly start fire:

Things required to start a fire
Things required to start a fire

Open Fireplace Damper

Make sure to open fireplace damper for rising smoke to escape into chimney and out of house. Depending on fireplace design, you usually do it manually by reaching into fireplace and moving a handle. One position of this handle completely show off air flow, another fully opens it. If unsure which position is which, use a flash light to see it before starting the fire, and open it.

Fireplace damper in closed position
Fireplace damper in closed position
Fireplace damper in opened position
Opened fireplace damper allows smoke to escape up into chimney

Watch this short video below that shows the process of opening and closing fireplace damper.

This video shows how to open and close fireplace damper

Prepare to Start Fire

For quick start, it helps to have things organized.

Preparing to start fire using paper and dry firewood
Preparing to start fire using paper and dry firewood
Small dry pieces of firewood organized in dome-like shape to start fire
Small pieces of firewood organized in dome shape to quickly start fire

Establish Air Draft in Chimney

If we start the fire now, we would most likely have a little bit of smoke to enter living room initially until air draft through chimney is established.

To avoid this, we want to establish air draft first by burning some paper and holding it up as close to fireplace damper as possible. This warms up the air in chimney and establishes air draft so that air goes from the living room into fireplace and up in chimney and nothing goes backwards.

Establish initial air draft by burning paper close to fireplace damper
Establish air draft by burning paper close to fireplace damper

Light a Fire

Now light the paper and see small bits of firewood to catch up with fire. As paper burns, perhaps add a few more small firewood bits or reorganize them to make sure the entire thing burns well.

Lighting a fire in fireplace
Lighting a fire in fireplace

Add Larger Bits of Firewood

With small bits burning, we can now add slightly larger dry pieces to the fire to see it become more serious.

Adding larger pieces of firewood to a burning fire
Adding larger pieces of firewood to a burning fire

Finally Add Large Logs

Now that out fire looks mature, we can add big logs to it, enjoy, and maintain it by adding more logs when necessary.

Biger firewood logs added to fireplace fire
Adding more big pieces of firewood to a burning fire
Fire burning in fireplace
Fire burning in fireplace

Watch a video below showing the entire process.

How to start a fire in fireplace properly