Igniting the Flame: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Fire in Your Fireplace

With the winter months fast approaching, there is nothing more cozy than lighting a fire in your fireplace and putting on a relaxing film. Fires fill your house with a woody fragrance, dancing flames and those enticing crackles. 

How To Start A Fire In A Fireplace

While it isn’t too difficult to start a fire, you do need to know how to get it going. This article will provide you with step by step instructions on how to light your fireplace.

You’re just a few steps away from having a cozy, roaring fire in your fireplace.

What Will You Need? 

Before you start to build your fire, you will need to gather a few different items. Once you have these, you can begin to start your fire. These items include: 

  • Paper of some kind, this can be in the form of newspaper or normal printer paper
  • Small logs for the fire, also known as kindling 
  • Large logs 
  • Matches or a lighter 

Step By Step Guide To Building A Fire In Your Fireplace 

1.) Ensure Your Chimney Is Clear 

The first step to building a fire in your fireplace is to make sure that there is nothing blocking your chimney. You will also need to ensure that your damper is open.

In order to ensure that your damper is closed, you need to look inside the fireplace. You may need a flashlight in order to do this.

The damper is an area on the chimney that is used to open and close the passage up to the chimney from the fireplace.

It is used to let the smoke from the fire out of the chimney, and so it is important that this is open at this stage. If it is closed, find the handle and open the damper.

You should double check that the smoke is able to go up through the chimney by lighting some paper in the fireplace and ensuring that the smoke makes its way out of the house.

If you find that the smoke is not able to escape through the chimney, then you will need to correct this before you continue. You can do this by correcting the air flow.

Allow some room temperature air to flow through the fireplace for around ten minutes. After this, check again to ensure that the air is flowing well.

2. ) Set The Foundation Up For Your Fire

The next step to making your fire in the fireplace is to place your paper underneath the smaller logs.

You should crunch up several pieces of paper on the bottom layer, however make sure that you don’t crumple the paper too tightly, because you want it to easily catch on fire. Place this paper at the bottom of the fireplace. 

3.) Add The Kindling To The Fireplace 

Next, place the smaller logs on top of this paper. This is so that when the paper lights, it will generate enough heat to light these smaller logs.

You should gently lay these logs on top of the paper so that the paper is completely covered. Here, it can be a good idea to lay the logs vertically so that they stand up like a tepee. 

How To Start A Fire In A Fireplace

4.) Add The Larger Logs 

The next step is to add the larger logs on top of the existing logs that you have already placed on the fire. Make sure that you leave plenty of space so that air can get to the fire.

Air feeds the fire and makes it hotter, which is what you need if you want the logs to ignite. 

5.) Light The Fire 

Once you have done this, it is time to light your fire. Use a lighter or matches to light the paper on the bottom layer of the fire. It is a good idea to light the paper in lots of different places to allow it to ignite. 

Tip: Ensure that you light the paper towards the back of the fire first. If you light it the other way around then it is likely that you won’t be able to light the back pieces after the front ones are already burning.

6.) Keep An Eye On The Fire!

Once your fire is lit, you just need to sit back and watch the fire burn. You should make sure that the fire is burning evenly, so use a fire poker to move the logs around if it is burning unevenly. 

You should add some more sticks to the fire if it is not burning very strongly to start with. If it looks like it may go out, you can gently blow on the fire to get it going again.

7.) Add More Logs 

If the fire is burning well, you can now add some bigger logs to the fire. Make sure that you’re very careful when adding these logs, and use protective gloves. 

When you add these bigger logs, you should add them to the hottest part of the fire so that they catch too. Again, you can move them around using a fire poker to make sure that it is burning evenly.


  • Make sure that you use protective gloves when you are adding logs to a fire that is already burning.
  • Never use flammable fluids or alcohol to get your fire started as this can be very dangerous to use inside the home. You run the risk of the fire getting too big for you to handle
  • If you want to put the fire out, it is best to just wait until it burns out itself
  • Never leave the fire unattended, and always keep an eye on it 

Final Thoughts 

This step by step guide should have given you detailed instructions on how to start a fire in a fireplace.

Remember, fire can be very dangerous so when you are working with open flames you must be very careful! Ensure that you don’t leave the fire unattended, and that you have all the necessary safety equipment.

Stevie Morris