One night last week I was stumbling around the internet on Stumbleupon, and found a method for starting fires I had never heard of. The Upside Down Fire Method. It turned everything I had known about starting a fire upside down – literally!
I had been taught that to get a fire going, you needed to build a small fire out of paper & kindling, and then add in larger & larger pieces of wood until you had a really good blaze going. As it turns out, there is a much more efficient method.
You start out by building a base of large logs – making sure there is no space between them. From there, keep building higher using consecutively smaller pieces. Again, with each layer, try to keep the wood touching as you go. Finally set some paper on the top with some small kindling or some of those fire starter sticks.
Light the paper and watch it burn! As the small kindling catches, it drops embers onto the layer below, igniting that layer as well – and so on down the line. Which is why it’s important not to have any gaps between the wood, so the embers rest on the wood, smoldering and igniting the next layer. Once you’ve got the top layer lit, it just keeps burning it’s way downward and you don’t even have to mess with or poke around with the fire at all.
It also burns very hot & very cleanly, with minimal smoke. The paper and kindling burning on top preps the chimney flue allowing the smoke to flow easily up and out. There’s no backdraft of smoke into the house, which is great!
I’ll be trying this method out on our next camping trip.