Snow It Goes: Build a fire

If the weather outside is, well, frightful, you can still have an evening that’s pretty delightful. Winter nights are the perfect time to cuddle up by the fireplace or brave a snowy bonfire with friends. Here’s some tips—from how-to gurus Lifehacker and The Art of Manliness—on how to make it perfect

If the weather outside is, well, frightful, you can still have an evening that’s pretty delightful. Winter nights are the perfect time to cuddle up by the fireplace or brave a snowy bonfire with friends. Here’s some tips—from how-to gurus Lifehacker and The Art of Manliness—on how to make it perfect:

Gather your supplies

• Matches or some kind of firestarter.
• Tinder. These are dry materials that catch fire easily and burn fast. Outdoors, that could mean dry leaves, bark, grass or woodshavings. Inside, you can opt for newspaper.
• Kindling. Smaller pieces of dry wood that will help keep the fire going, such as small twigs or branches.
• Logs or fuel wood. These big guys go into the fire last and keep it burning—look for dry logs or branches about a few inches in diameter.
• Water to douse the fire when you’re finished.

Fireplace

• Double check the flue before you start so you don’t end up with a room full of smoke.
• Crumple up some newspaper, and throw it in the back of the fireplace.
• Stack some kindling on top of the newspaper. Leave enough room for oxygen to circulate.
• Light the fire. Light the tinder in several places to get it burning; the kindling should catch easily. When it’s burning, you can add more kindling to build up a coal bed.
• Once the fire is really going, start adding the logs. Lay them across lengthwise, and then stack a few on top diagonally. Don’t add too many or you’ll smother the fire.

Campfire

• Prepare your area: If you have a designated campfire spot, or you’re using a firepit, you’re set. If not, you’ll want to find a space with bare earth clear of grass and debris. Build up a pile of dirt to make a platform about 3-4 inches thick, and surround it with rocks.

• Make a pile of tinder in the middle of the pit. Above the tinder, make a teepee out of the kindling. Make sure to leave an opening on the side the wind is blowing to allow oxygen to feed the fire. Continue building the teepee by adding the logs or fuel wood.

• Light the tinder. The fire should burn its way up. When the teepee collapses, add more fuel wood.

• Be sure to completely douse your fire with water (sprinkle, don’t pour to avoid flooding the fire pit). Stir the embers with a stick or shovel to make sure everything is doused. You’ll know you’re done when the ashes feel cool to the touch.