Help! My Fire Won't Stay Lit!

Here at Cutting Edge Firewood, it’s no secret that we love a great fire.

Something magical happens when we gather around the fireplace or fire pit and watch the flames dance. Fire has been our gathering place for thousands of years, so not only does it help us connect with those around us today, but it also helps connect us with our past.

But there is only one problem…what if you’ve gotten everyone together and your fire won’t stay lit?! What if you keep throwing matches and newspaper and twigs and get nothing but smoke and dying flames? How is it that a good flame can go bad when you add certain pieces of wood?

We have good news – You have come to the right place! We love fires and we know fires. In this article, we’ll explain how to maintain a great fire and ensure it stays lit.

3 Things Every Good Fire Needs

If you want to enjoy a great fire, 3 elements must be present to ensure your fire stays lit:

  1. Heat: There’s a reason you’ve never enjoyed a cold fire – there needs to be heat!
  2. Oxygen: Without air, your fire will be snuffed out
  3. Fuel: All that heat needs to burn something, and that something can be anything from (hopefully) firewood to (hopefully not) furniture

All three of these elements must be present. If your fire won’t stay lit, it’s probably because one of these three things is having trouble. As you might expect, all three of them affect one another, so it’s important to think about all three of them simultaneously.

The Importance of Good Fuel Source

One of the most common challenges with fire starters is having a bad fuel source. Firewood that’s wet, decomposing, or moldy will never burn as well as firewood for sale (or at all).

It makes sense when you think about it…

Water cools things down and reduces heat. There’s a reason firefighters use it to put out fires! If you’re starting a fire with wet wood, it’s always going to be tough because the water will actively reduce the heat from the fire.

Even if you place wet wood onto an existing fire, it’s going to reduce the overall heat of the fire and could even put the fire out. If you want a great fire, you should ensure you are only using dry wood.

Dry wood is also safer for your chimney. It reduces creosote build-up that can cause serious problems down the road. If you’re looking to warm your home, then again, dry firewood will burn hotter and create more heat!

Many people use firewood that is “well-seasoned,” but one of the problems with seasoned firewood is that it is decomposing. This, by definition, means it will be less dense. Because the firewood is less dense, there’s less fuel for the fire to burn away. If the seasoned wood is dry, it will be easier to light but it will burn more quickly.

Kiln Dried firewood is an awesome alternative to seasoned firewood.

Not everyone follows the same kiln drying practices, however, so you have to be careful. Cutting Edge Firewood follows the most rigorous kiln drying standards. All of our wood is cooked at 250 degrees for 48 hours. This means it is incredibly dry and makes for an amazing fuel source.

Because we place freshly cut firewood into the kiln, it has not started decomposing, so it will last longer. We also only use hardwoods like hickory wood for sale, which is denser and will therefore burn for much longer than softwoods like pine.

How to Maintain Oxygen Flow

Wherever you build your fire, you’ll need good oxygen flow. To get this, you need to think about how you stack the firewood.

If you cover the flame with too much firewood too quickly, you can snuff it out because it won’t get enough oxygen.

You also need to stack the logs in such a way that enables them to breathe. If the logs are stacked too tightly together, oxygen won’t flow between them and it will slow the burning process significantly.

firewood too tight

If you’re outside, then things like leaves may seem like an easy fire starter, but again they can quickly reduce or eliminate all oxygen flow. It’s best to avoid them unless you like lots of smoke (plus they create an abundance of ash)!

It’s always a good idea to start with smaller pieces of wood. It’s easy for them to receive oxygen and start building heat, then you can strategically stack or set larger pieces of wood on top to provide more fuel as required.

As you add firewood to the fire throughout the day or night, keep oxygen flow in mind. Don’t add too much wood at once or place pieces in the fire directly next to each other or they will struggle to burn properly. Always stack neatly, so that oxygen can flow but heat can still be shared.

Keep the Heat Alive

The final component is heat.

Have you ever noticed what happens to a piece of firewood that falls away from the fire? It usually just stops burning, right?

firewood too far apart

That’s because the wood needs to be close to the heat source to burn. The further from the heat source, the cooler the air and the quicker your fire will go out.

As you set up your fire, it’s important to keep this balance in mind. While it’s important to maintain oxygen flow, you still want the wood to be close enough to share heat. One or Two inches of space between pieces is usually a pretty good balance – allowing both oxygen to flow and heat to be shared.

As the fire burns, you might need to use a designer fire iron to move pieces of firewood closer to the middle.

Oftentimes, the firewood burns away in the middle of the log, but the sides remain untouched. As the firewood collapses, take a moment to push pieces closer into the fire. This will extend the life of your fire and reduce the amount of wood you need to add.

Lastly, when it comes to heat, you really want a good coal bed.

The coals are the best source of heat in a fire and make it so much easier for the wood to stay hot and burning. If your fire won’t stay lit for very long, check it to make sure you have enough wood at the bottom to create a good coal base.

Where to Get the Best Fuel Source?

When you want a great fire, you need great wood. But finding an amazing fuel source can be hard.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of oxygen to go around and matches aren’t too hard to find when you want to create heat. But finding good firewood can be a challenge, or at least, it used to be a challenge.

Thanks to Cutting Edge Firewood, obtaining great firewood is easier than ever before. Our firewood quality is unmatched – it’s consistently drier and cleaner than any other firewood provider.

That means it is easier to light, burns brighter, hotter, and longer, provides an amazing aroma, and creates less smoke. We hand-select every piece of our firewood, ensuring our customers only receive the best wood for their fires.

Not only that, but our unparalleled customer service makes it easy to receive firewood.

Our local delivery companies allow customers to enjoy the benefits of our delivery artisan service, where we deliver and stack the wood wherever you wish.

We can also deliver or ship boxes of firewood all over the country. Each box contains fire starters, kindling, and logs enough for 2-4 memorable fireside experiences. Boxes are a great way to try Cutting Edge Firewood and experience the difference for yourself!

You can view all of our kiln-dried firewood and cooking wood products today by visiting our online store. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a wide selection of oak firewood for sale, hickory firewood for sale, and cherry firewood for sale.

You can view a few of our most popular products below.

About The Author

Leroy Hite

Leroy Hite is the founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, an ultra-premium firewood and cooking wood company located in Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy's mission is to give people the experience of the perfect fire because some of life’s best memories are made in the warmth of a fire’s glow. He founded Cutting Edge Firewood in 2013 with a goal to provide unmatched quality wood and unparalleled customer service nationwide. The company offers premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood, and pizza wood in a wide variety of species and cuts to customers around the country.