One of the nicest things about summer evening entertaining is sitting around a glowing fire pit with friends after the sun has gone down. However, lighting your fire can prove tricky, as can keeping it going once it has been lit. If you're a fire pit newbie, read on for some top fire-making tips.
What you'll need
- red gum firewood
- extra-long matches
- dry newspaper sheets
How to build your fire
You will need two different sizes of red gum wood for your fire; small 'sticks' to be used as kindling and larger logs, and you can buy both ready-cut from your local garden centre or firewood supplier. Look out for logs that are split. This is because the dry heartwood at the centre of the logs will ignite more easily than the sapwood further out.
When constructing your fire, remember that it needs a good supply of oxygen in order to burn, and for this reason you need to leave plenty of air space between the sticks.
- Start off by placing a few balls of loosely scrunched-up newspaper in the bottom of your fire pit.
- Now take a few sticks of kindling and stack them against themselves in a tepee shape with the newspaper underneath.
- Put a few small pieces of firelighter in between the kindling sticks, resting on top of the scrunched-up newspaper.
- Next, arrange several larger pieces of red gum firewood in the same way, resting against the kindling.
- Use extra-long matches to light the newspaper from several sides. The paper should catch light straight away, quickly igniting the firelighters, and then the surrounding kindling.
- As the kindling and wood surrounding it burns, small embers will drop into the centre of the tepee, forming a core of heat and that all-important cosy glow.
- You can keep your fire going throughout the evening by adding more split logs to the original tepee.
- When the fire has burned itself out and is cold, don't clear it out completely; leave a small layer of ash in the bottom of the fire pit. This is important for future fire lighting as the ash helps to insulate the pit and makes ignition easier.
You can successfully build and maintain a cosy fire to warm your guests during summer outdoor parties by following the guidelines given above. Red gum firewood is highly recommended for use in fire pit fires because it burns readily and gives of plenty of heat.