How To Use A Fire Starter

It’s quite the challenge trying to light a fire without the assistance of either a lighter or some matches. Fortunately, fire starters are a great way to get your fire up and running in no time at all. They’re small, portable, and available to buy in most sporting goods stores. 

This guide will take an in-depth look at the process of using a fire starter effectively, from the initial preparation stage of the fire site, all the way through to the skill of maintaining the fire once it’s been successfully lit. 

How To Use A Fire Starter

Furthermore, we’ll also look to answer a couple of the frequently asked questions related to using a fire starter safely and efficiently. 


Before thinking about using a fire starter, it’s vitally important to find a suitable location for a fire. For example, it’s not a good idea to start a fire in windy conditions as this can easily blow your fire out, and even spread it out of control. Therefore, finding a sheltered area is recommended. 

Furthermore, it’s good practice to look for a location that’s near a supply of fuel (such as wood). This is because it’s incredibly difficult to carry a large amount of wood a long distance and most fires are often “hungrier” than expected. 

In terms of discouraging the spread of fire, you’ll need to clear the area around the fire site. One common method is to make the fire pit a little larger than the intended fire, so you can maintain a safe distance between the flame and any nearby grass. 

Also, don’t forget to inspect the ground around your fire pit for any kind of dry vegetation or anything similar that might be prone to catch fire. 

Gathering Materials 

Once you’re set on your chosen location, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got plenty of fuel on hand, so that when the fire really starts to get going, you’ve got enough fuel to feed and sustain it. 

If you’re using wood, gathering plenty of tinder and kindling is essential to get your fire going. This includes small twigs, shreds of wood, dried leaves, conifer needles, and then medium-sized twigs and branches for kindling. 

Once the tinder is lit, this will quickly begin to burn your kindling. Then, the fire will be strong enough to handle some of the larger chunks of wood which are required to keep your fire burning for a prolonged period of time. 

It’s important to keep in mind that all of the firewood you assemble for your fire should be as dry as possible. This is because wood that isn’t dry enough won’t burn as effectively. 

One way of making sure your wood is completely dry is to position it around the fire while it’s burning. This way it’ll have plenty of time to dry before you throw it onto the fire. 

How To Use A Fire Starter

Lighting The Fire 

This is where the fire starter, and the importance of using it correctly comes into the picture. Most fire starters typically consist of two parts – a block with a flint strip and then a blade. If your fire starter only has one part, you can just as effectively use a knife as your blade. 

When using a magnesium fire starter, scrape some of the shavings off the rod and onto your assembled fire pit. It can be difficult to know exactly how much magnesium is needed to start a fire – especially for beginners – so it’s a good idea to start small, and then add more shavings if necessary. 

Just be wary that magnesium is extremely flammable, so don’t pile on too many shavings as this will ignite a massive fire right in front of your face! 

To create a spark, strike the flint with your blade in a similar manner that you’d strike a match. The size of the spark will be dependent on the amount of force you applied, as well as the speed and angle of the strike. 

Another method often used to create a spark is to hold the blade steady while dragging the flint across the edge of the knife. For many people, this is considered a safer method. 

If the kindling immediately ignites from the spark, then you’re good to go. However, if the fire just smokes and smoulders, you might need to give the kindling a gentle blow until the embers ignite into proper flames. 

How To Use A Fire Starter

Keeping The Fire Going

Now that you’ve got the fire up and running, you just need to make sure that you’re able to keep it going. The best way to do this is to add larger pieces of wood and branches to the fire when it looks like it’s calming down a little bit.

When you’ve had enough of the fire, it’s imperative to make sure that you’ve properly put it out. To extinguish a fire effectively, throw plenty of water over the fire pit and stir the ashes to ensure that all of the embers have been put out. 

While many people claim that you can use dirt just as effectively as water, the coals at the very bottom of the fire pit can still remain hot enough to ignite, so it’s a good idea to use water just to be sure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Times Can You Use A Fire Starter? 

Despite the fact that most fire starters can be used for around 3,000 times before they get dull, flints can be used pretty much until there’s no rock left to strike the blade on. Moreover, flint is found in most natural environments, so as long as you know what it looks like, you can also re-supply. 

How Should Fire Starters Be Stored?

For safe storage, fire starters should ideally be kept in a cool and dry place – definitely away from fire locations. So, while it might seem convenient to store them on the hearth or a table next to the fire, this is a fire hazard that you should try to avoid. 

Eric Willis
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