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Best technique for lighting a bonfire or wood burning stove

Credit: Video screenshot from Household Hacker YouTube Channel
Best technique for lighting a bonfire or wood burning stove
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During colder months it is great to have the whole family around a lit wood burning stove or fire.  In the summer, people like to light a bonfire so they can make the most of the longer nights. This is a great time to share fun family moments in the cozy, comforts of your own home or garden!  You can lounge on the sofa watching telly, drinking tea, play games or have a drink.  At home a fire can be the real central point of your living space!  However, what is the best technique for lighting a fire at home or outside?  Here are a couple of techniques that you could try taken from Finnish experts!  Your hugge moment is waiting for you! 

Classic lighting technique: From bottom to top

allumer une cheminée faire un feu
Video screenshot from HolzenergieSchweiz’s YouTube Channel

We often think that your fire should burn from bottom to top by first burning small piece at the bottom of the pyramid like bits of cardboard, newspaper or little pieces of wood.  Once these small items have caught alike they will in turn light the bigger pieces of wood that you have added on top of the pyramid.  You now need to regularly feed your fire with logs so that it doesn’t go out.

However Finnish experts have a technique to light a fire in the exact opposite way.  They light it from the top to the bottom… why and how do they do this?

Advantages of an lighting your fire upside side down (From top to bottom)

Video screenshot taken from Infoenergie64 YouTube Channel
  • The heat is felt more quickly
  • There is less smoke and less ashes
  • Less gas is produced (It burns better, as the flame is on top) and so there is less pollution. More environmentally friendly!
  • The wood burns better, longer and more efficiently. It is therefore more economical as it requires less wood.
  • You don’t need to continuously add logs into your fire so you don’t need to keep on top of it as much. The fire burns level by level. The level above preheats and dries out the level below before it burns.
  • The chimney gets dirty less quickly and therefore easier to maintain.  (You’ll notice the difference in the window pane.)

How do you light your fire upside down?

allumer une cheminée
Video screenshot from Orion Heating – and – Orion Forestry’s YouTube Channel

You need to use dry wood.  Start by place a few large logs of wood at the bottom of your fire and leaving a slight space between each log.  Now add a layer of medium sized blocks on top which you can then cover with small pieces of wood. You can use firelighters if you wish: small wood induced wax or oiled sheets rolled into a ball… Remember that the lighting process begins less dramatically than the conventional method (It is easy to think that the fire hasn’t take as well or that the fire will choke). This is why a firelighter could be a good option. But once it’s started, nothing stops it!  This technique can work both inside your house or in a fire pit outside!


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