Back[yard] to Basics: How to Build Better Fires - Walden Backyards


May 01, 2018

How to Build a Better Fire

If there is one thing we know at Walden Backyards, it's how to really enjoy sitting fireside. We believe that backyard bonfires are one of the most meaningful and genuine ways to connect with our friends and family, so we have put together these tips to ensure that you build your campfire as sturdily as you do your relationships.


bonfire wood campfire logs

1. Choosing the Best Wood for Your Fire

The first thing to consider is the type of firewood that you choose. Your wood should always be dry and clean so that is able to light more easily and stay burning all evening long. Seasoned wood, or dried wood, is always a better bet for a cleaner burn, as opposed to green, meaning recently cut, wood. Hardwoods are denser, and thus able to burn hotter and longer than softwood. Some great options of hardwood are woods like maple and oak, which burn slowly, and are perfect if you want an extended burn time. Birch, pine and cedar are examples of softwood, which will give you the classic crackling fire, still provides good heat, but also burns more quickly than hardwoods.


2. Building a Sturdy Base for the Fire

Building a proper base for your fire is key! As you set up your firewood logs, make sure that there is room for airflow to feed the flames from underneath. A simple way to do this is by using a fire grate. Walden’s Original Fire Grate with an Ember Catcher’s heavy duty steel sits right on the ground in your fire pit, and allows constant airflow to feed in below your fire for bigger, better bonfires.


 3. Firewood Log Setup

Once you have the base set up in your bonfire pit, tap into your inner architect and start stacking your logs. We recommend a crosshatch, or log cabin style pattern, because it provides sturdiness, which also means you will not have to tend to your fire quite as often. That being said, the tee-pee style of stacking logs works too, and will give you a taller flame. Just be wary that this approach to log architecture is sure to tip over as your wood burns. Though we prefer a crosshatch, this step of building your fire is up to you.


4. Lighting the Fire

Now that your wood is set up, it's time to get it lit. There are a few options for starting a bonfire. You can use paper, or very light wood kindling as an initial flame, and place it in your structure to try to start your fire. Otherwise, make it easy and use a fire starter underneath your logs. You'll want a starter that stays lit for a substantial amount of time, and burns nice an hot with a large flame to ensure the wood catches in all sorts of conditions. The Sure-Fire™ Starter from Walden Backyards has a burn time of 10 – 15 minutes allowing your logs to take to the flame. These starters are also ideal because of their non-toxicity and the fact that they are made 100% from recycled materials making them a surefire choice. Whether you use kindling or a fire starter, make sure that the raw side (the side without bark) of the logs are facing the flames.


5. Maintaining the Fire

Once you have that initial spark, and the logs are aflame, watch your bonfire or campfire for proper airflow. Air is what feeds the fire and keeps it burning. If you notice your fire dying out, try adjusting the logs with a fire poker to allow the fire to breathe. Even better, you can stoke the dwindling flames with the Walden Blow-Through Stoker Poker extending the life of your fire. 

With these simple tips, you'll be enjoying hassle free bonfires that last well into the evening in no time. Always remember to keep bonfire safety in mind; build your fires in a safe location, and never leave a live fire unattended. For more ways to enhance your backyard bonfire check out more Walden bonfire and campfire tools, fire pits and accessories at

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