It’s possible I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life!
We’ve all done it. Place some small stuff to start the fire on top of kindling at the bottom. Then add slightly bigger sticks and branches on top of that, followed by bigger stuff , and finally logs. We light the small stuff, which hopefully catches the bigger stuff on fire. The result? Lots of smoke. Lots of blowing on it. Lots of tending, and finally accelerants if we can’t get it going - right???
What if I told you to turn the whole thing upside down? Sounds crazy, but hear me out.
Place your biggest logs at the bottom, close together in a row. Next, place the middle-sized wood on top of the logs in the opposite direction. Then add small sticks in a centered pile with the smallest kindling and starting material on top. (I prefer dried cedar or pine - that stuff really takes off!)
When you light the starting material, it will ignite the kindling, which burns down onto the smaller wood, and in a few minutes, you’ll have a nice fire going! With a little practice, building a Top Down fire is easy and they burn great!
Of course, properly seasoned firewood is essential for a nice fire without all that stinky smoke. Give us a call, we can get you some great wood!
...what a cheerful place to share a dreamy night of romance, read a good book in a cozy chair, or gather around with family and friends.
Here’s a few things to know Before you spark up the logs:
Green wood produces more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney. Our firewood is perfectly seasoned for you!
Seems obvious, but be sure to double-check! Keep the damper open until the fire is completely extinguished.
Wrapping paper, shiny bows, and foam peanuts - release toxic fumes. Crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood releases chemicals too. Evergreen boughs and large quantities of paper can flare up and quickly get out of control.
A roaring fire looks attractive, but a slower, steadier burn is safer.
Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.
Prevent shooting embers with a mesh metal screen. Glass fireplace doors work well too, especially if you leave the room, but if you want to enjoy the heat, you’ll need to open them.
Minimize the buildup of soot and creosote by burning seasoned wood. Clean the firebox between fires - scoop up cool ashes and place them in a metal container. Schedule a professional chimney Inspection and cleaning annually.
Never leave a fire unattended, and don’t go to sleep with a fire blazing away.
If embers spark out of the fireplace and into the room, you want to make sure there is nothing nearby that will catch fire.
And a Carbon-Monoxide Detector Is A Safety Must-Have.
It will prevent objects, rain, and snow from falling into your chimney, and reduce downdrafts.
We know how important it is to keep firewood properly stacked: Off the Ground, Away from Walls, Kept Dry, and Contained Safely to Avoid Toppling Over.
If you’re like us, you want your firewood close by for ease and convenience, but you don’t really want to bring it inside with all the “critters” dirt and other yuck it could possibly contain. Stacked outside seems the obvious choice, but you need to make sure it doesn’t trap moisture against the side of the house or become home to unwanted bugs and vermin. AND you need it to stay off the ground so it won’t trap moisture and rot. A firewood rack is the perfect solution, and we have some ideas here for you! The links below are just a start to creative, cost-effective and easy firewood rack solutions.
You can get this DIY firewood rack bracket kit from ‘Wayfair‘ and then add six 2×4’s to make your own firewood rack in just a few minutes. So simple!
This rack was simply made using wood pallets and wood braces. See this idea and more here.
This firewood rack can be rolled, making it easy to relocate your firewood access, and for cleaning behind and underneath your firewood too! See the tutorial here.
How and where you stack your firewood is more important than you might think!
A few simple tips will help keep your wood as safe and dry as possible.
Firewood that is stored improperly can become a home to insects, rodents, snakes, mold and fungus! So let’s discover a few tips that will help you properly care for your wood pile.
1. Always stack your firewood in a pattern, with cut ends exposed. Wood that is simply tossed into a bin or a pile doesn’t get proper air circulation, and is prone to critter infestations, mold and fungus - especially in the middle of the pile. Stack your wood like you would stack bricks, or in rows with each layer facing in a different direction. This optimizes airflow, and by overlapping, the stacking will be more stable.
Wood should be stacked loosely, (rather than tightly to save space), allowing air to circulate between each piece.
2. Stack your firewood a few inches above the ground.
Stacking firewood directly on the ground can introduce moisture to your stack. Moisture and the insects that will find their way to your stack causes your firewood to decay faster.
A firewood rack is a great way to keep your wood off the ground. If you don’t have a firewood rack, you can make a foundation from pallets, 2x4s, scrap wood, cinder blocks or bricks. Even a layer of gravel on the ground will help.
3. Keep your wood dry.
Dry firewood is safer and burns better. Damp wood makes more smoke and a less efficient fire. In a fireplace, it also leads to dangerous creosote buildup, and increased levesl of carbon monoxide in your home. Cover your dry wood when it is going to rain or snow (unless you keep it in a shed or under a shelter).
4. Don’t store large amounts firewood indoors.
Bring in only what you plan on burning that day. The convenience of having your firewood close at hand may tempt you to store larger amounts of wood inside, but it is likely that your wood has at least some spiders, termites, ants and other bugs in it, and possible even mice.
5. Don’t stack firewood against your house.
Wood is highly flammable, and stacked against your home, could potentially be ignited by sparks from a nearby fire pit, patio fireplace, chimenea, or even your grill. Besides that, it’s like inviting insects, rodents or snakes to come into your home. At the very least, you’re providing a habitat or a pathway for critters.
Stacking firewood against any wall reduces air circulation and can make your stack retain moisture and grow mold or fungus. If you stack your wood near a shed or fence, make sure to leave at least a few inches between your stack and the structure for better air circulation.
6. Keep firewood storage away from dog runs and play areas.
If you have a small backyard, you may not have many choices about where to stack your firewood. Try to pick the best spot possible to keep your stack away from dog runs and play areas. When stacked properly, your firewood is not likely to topple over, but reduce the risk of your stack falling on your dog or child by stacking it away from areas they frequent.
We would be happy to deliver and stack your firewood for you! Just let us know!
Ahhh...camping. Sunshine, the great outdoors, sitting around the campfire, what great ways to relax and make memories!
Nowadays we tend to spend so much time inside, in stuffy air, sitting on our hineys in front of a screen, moving from one digital distraction to another - it’s actually bad for our health. As I write this - sitting on MY hiney in front of a screen, I’m already dreaming about fresh air, hiking in nature, enjoying foods cooked over a campfire, and stargazing.
Besides the wonderful relaxation that being out in nature provides, I know I’m gonna get lots of great exercise while hiking and shooting photos. I know I’ll sleep better too (and so will the kids!). For the more scientifically inclined, vitamin D production from sunlight exposure and increased serotonin (the happy chemical in our brains), are just 2 great benefits campers experience after spending a few days unplugged from technology and plugged into the great outdoors.
Now I know there are some of you (my spouse included) who hear the word camping, and immediately think of bugs, sunburns, storms and danger! But think of it this way...as kids we camped and experienced some of those bugs and storms and danger, and those became the great stories we love to tell today! Somehow it brings us closer and becomes a bonding experience.
So whether you rough it, stay in a camper or a fully equipped cabin, I think we can all agree that a campfire is essential to the experience. Make sure you have the firewood you need before you make that trip up Mt. Lemmon! We have plenty of wood in our lot, and great prices too.
We’ve put some great articles right here for you...cooking tips for great results on your campfire, along with some recipes. Be sure to review our fire safety tips too. They’ll keep you and your family safe so you can enjoy your campfire to the max.
Time to make plans for my next trip. I can hardly wait!!!!
Eucalyptus fires can be a challenge to light, but once lit, it burns long, clean and hot, saving you trips to refill your fireplace. Our best advice...first use Pine! Get a small pile of pine wood lit and burning, and wait until you have some coals. (It won't take long!) Then begin adding your Eucalyptus a couple of pieces at a time. Soon you will have a beautiful fire that you will enjoy for hours.
Pine is easy to light, burns quickly and smells great. Our pine is properly seasoned, which eliminates the wet, sticky sap that causes issues. Properly seasoned pine works great for lighting hardwoods too.
Creosote forms when your fire is not hot enough, and the wood is damp. Any wood you burn must be properly seasoned so your fire will burn hot and clean. Firewood in Tucson has locally sourced wood, perfectly seasoned in our own lumber yard. We never buy wood from other sources.
Just a little wind can blow burning embers and sparks onto a flammable surface or YOU! Keep extra wood upwind and away from the flames. Also! Be aware of local laws and burning restrictions...here's a link to a website that lists current fire restrictions:
Use an existing fire pit that’s contained by a fire ring circled with rocks or blocks if possible, or purchase a fire pit/fire bowl. Make sure your fire is at least fifteen feet away from any tents, trees, bushes or anything else flammable. Avoid areas densely covered with dried grass and leaves, and clear away any flammable material that’s within ten feet of the pit.
You don’t want to have to sit 20 feet away, and you’re not signaling NASA for help! Make that firewood last longer, and enjoy a close circle of friends. That’s what’s great about a fire - cozy, fun times with friends and family.
Never leave your fire unattended. Keep an eye on pets and kids - even small embers when wood “pops” can cause serious burns. And it’s good to have a shovel, a bucket of water and some tools for moving burning logs on hand to keep the fire burning well. Here's a link to a tool we love! https://pyroclaw.com
Put that lighter fluid (gas, oil, fuel) away! And while you’re at it, put away all that newspaper too! Think of it as a challenge, to make a beautiful fire without using anything but wood! It’s really not that difficult.
Start building your fire with small sticks and twigs and gradually work your way up to the larger pieces of wood. Leave spaces for air to circulate under the wood. When adding large pieces of wood to the fire, point them inwards and use a tool or another piece of wood to shift them to their desired spot.
I know it’s tempting to throw used cups, plates, plastic bags, cans and bottles into the fire for “easy” disposal, BUT this releases toxic fumes and could leave behind pieces with sharp edges. Respect local burning laws by burning only wood and charcoal.
And be sure to put the fire out completely! Coals that aren’t extinguished can inflict burns for 24 hours! Don’t bury them - this can actually keep them hot. Pour water and stir the ashes and embers until you are certain they are all out and cooled.