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Building the Best Backyard Fire

Building a fire isn’t just a skill for campers or survivalists! Gathering around a backyard fire allows for hours of enjoyment with family and friends. Here’s an explanation of a few different campfire styles, how to alter the fire-building process based on the container being used, and tips and tricks to ensure you have a roaring fire in no time.

Campfire Styles for Fire Pits & Rings

There are numerous campfire styles, but here are three basic varieties that work in most circumstances.

The classic “teepee” campfire is easy to build and very effective. Simply collect small, dry pieces of kindling and lean them together to create a teepee shape. Keep the structure loose to add tinder to the center. Numerous things serve as tinder, including dry grasses, twigs, or paper. Once the materials are in place, light the tinder. Maintain good airflow and add additional larger pieces of wood as the fire starts going. This allows it to build slowly.

Build a “log cabin” fire when warmth is needed, but you don’t want to stoke the flames continuously. Gather four logs, place two parallel in the fire area, and then place the other two logs crosswise on top of those. Once all four logs are positioned, they should look like the number symbol, or “hashtag.” Place tinder in the center, stack smaller pieces atop the structure in the same pattern, and light the fire. Replace wood as needed.

Create a “platform” when you plan to cook over the fire. Place large logs horizontally in the fire area before adding small logs vertically on top of this foundation. Continue building the woodpile in this way before adding a small kindling teepee at the top. Light the fire. The wood burns down until coals are present and glowing, giving off steady, high heat perfect for cooking and roasting.

Outdoor Fireplaces & Brick Ovens

When building a fire in an outdoor fireplace, put a layer of ash or sand down first. This helps the fire continue once it gets started.

Brick ovens need a gentle, consistent fire to cook food properly once the oven’s walls and floors have been heated, which can take an hour or more. Start by creating a nice bed of embers and add a larger piece of wood once they are going. The goal is to have a steady, small flame that doesn’t die down quickly.

Use the Best Firewood

The best backyard fires need the best, pre-seasoned firewood to burn hot, clean, and long. We’ve been delivering high-quality firewood to the Chicago area since 1982. All the wood used for our firewood and mulch is purchased locally and is cut, split and stored on site!


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