So many things come down to knowledge or experience. You may have never started a fire in the fireplace or pit. Chances are, if you have, maybe you have done it very few times. We ofen hear from guests, "We can't get a fire started!" I hope this post relieves some of that frustration.
Do not mess with the damper. We never close dampers unless it's not fire season, October 1--March 15. We supply wood for fires so don't worry about bringing it. Once you light the fire, close the doors until only slightly open. This will draw a flow of air that will mostly keep the smoke inside and get the fire going quickly.
Kindling is key
If you've been out west and started a fire, you may believe it's fairly simple. Start with wood, add fire, and there you go. Fire lit. Well it's not that simple in southeastern Oklahoma. For one, the humidity is high. Another thing is that even though we dry our wood for months prior to winter, the wood still has some moisture content. Start with some paper, add small sticks and a starter block or cedar sticks. You must have kindling to get it going. Then begin to add slightly larger sticks on top. Let us know if you need more cedar kindling.
Easy does it
If you immediately place large chunks of firewood to your little fire, it likely will go out. Before you start, gather a nice pile of dry sticks on the porch to get it going. If it's wet out, start with plenty of paper or cardboard. Then add cedar or starter blocks to that. You can place wet stuff on that fire, but not big stuff. Not yet.
Once you have a fire started
Begin to add slightly larger sticks until it's good and hot. Only then can you add big chunks from the wood shed. Use the smaller chunks first. Once you've succeeded in starting a nice fire you can open the doors and enjoy it. But never leave them open and the fireplace unattended, like at night. Logs may roll out and start a bigger fire. Not good. Do close the doors if you leave the cabin or go to bed.
One key ingredient
Do not underestimate the importance of lighter fluid. It aids hugely in keeping the fire hot until it gets going well. Especially in the fire pit. A little added to the kindling at the base of your fire will aid in getting it going quicker!
We want you to enjoy our fireplaces and fire pits. That's what they're for! Just be patient, and be careful. Now. Let's break out the smores!