Can you burn wet wood in a fire pit?
An unexpected downpour has reduced your well dried stack of firewood to a rather sad and soggy pile of wood. The fire pit is a little more than damp and the promise of a fireside evening seems to have faded away.
There is a way to rescue the evening and not only that but also an opportunity to raise your rating as a genuine outdoor survivor.
Trouble is that wet wood doesn’t burn that well and if it does then the reluctant flames will also create a considerable amount of smoke. Keep reading and you will learn how to light a fire using wet wood and gain admiring glances from your fellow adventurers..
What you will need
Ideally, an axe is always useful so, being the professional outdoor type of person naturally, an axe is part of your equipment. It goes with the image. If you don’t have an axe, I hope you have a decent outdoors type of knife with you.
To begin you will need to split your logs ideally into quarters assuming a log diameter of approximately six inches or a little bigger. Quarters provide nice, angled pieces from the center of the log and it is the wood from these edges that will provide us with our start up material.
Once the log has been quartered you may want to put the axe down and take up the knife to shave off thin pieces of wood from the sharp angled side of the individual pieces.
You will need a handful or two of these small shavings. Keep them thin and small and once you have collected a sufficient amount you can place them in the center of the fire pit.
Moving on to the second stage of the process you now need to take small wedge shaped pieces from the quarter log sections. You can use an axe for this or a knife, but the wedges should be fairly small with the pointed end quite thin to catch alight easily.
The idea here is that the thinner pointed end will burn easily, and the flame will steadily move to the thicker section of the wood.
What not to do
You will not achieve any status of a man or woman of the wild if you attempt to use newspaper or for that matter, any other paper to light the fire. Not only will it destroy your credibility, but it also will not light the fire.
Although the paper will provide a wonderful flame it lacks the heat required to overcome the wetness of the wood and sadly the flames will die leaving only a smudge of smoke lingering with looks of disdain from your fireside colleagues.
Cutting and placing the wedges
About ten to fifteen wedge shaped pieces will be required and these you will need to place on top of the shavings that you originally placed in the center of the fire pit. Arrange the wedges sharp side down in a tepee type of pattern.
With style and confidence nonchalantly light the kindling with your handy lighter and watch the flames grow in harmony with the sighs of admiration from your fellow fireside colleagues. You may bask in this state for a little while, but your task is not complete quite yet.
Have a look at the four pieces of wood from which you whittled the kindling and decide if you need to split them a little more. Remember your new-found reputation rests on the successful transition from the kindling fire to the lighting of the big pieces. This is no time to take your eye off the fire.
Adding the bigger pieces
A good rule of thumb is to take the biggest of the four pieces and split it down the center and then perhaps once more so you will end up with four smaller pieces that will serve as the bridging pieces.
A safe way to do this is to hold the piece of firewood erect by placing the knife on the top end of the wood and then tapping down on the knife with another piece of wood.
By now the shavings will have transferred the flames to the wedges and the bigger pieces will be catching alight. Stack the remaining bigger sections on the fire but before you settle back there is one more task to complete.
How long will the fire last?
You will now need to assess how many logs will be required depending on how long the fire needs to burn. If additional logs are required, it is a good idea to split them now.
Ideally, the additional logs should also be split into quarters and the pieces arranged around the outside base of the fire so that they can dry out very quickly and be ready to ignite as required.
And once this is done it is time to sit back enjoying the warmth of your wet wood fire pit fire surrounded by admiring glances of all your fireside colleagues.