How to Start a Fire in a Wood Burner

Updated March 21, 2017

The most important tenet when burning wood in a wood burner is to choose the correct type of firewood. Softwoods or conifers generally burn faster and reach higher temperatures more quickly than hardwoods, which generally burn relatively slowly and require more time to increase in temperature. Starting a fire in a wood burner is moderately easy, but attention to detail is important.

Place a piece of paper, birch bark or fire starter in a pile of kindling. Space the kindling so that oxygen can circulate inside the wood burner.

Build a pile of logs inside the wood burner. The logs must be close enough to share heat from the flame.

Light the paper, bark or fire starter. There must be sufficient space available between the logs to allow air to flow from the bottom of the pile to the top.

Maintain the flame by periodically adding more pieces of firewood. Feeding the flame will help the fire grow. Continue until the fire is the size you want.


Softwoods, such as spruce and pine, are easy to ignite. Hardwoods, such as red and white oak, distribute greater heat. They are more difficult to ignite.


Keep children away from an active wood burner.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood burner
  • Softwoods
  • Hardwoods
  • Paper, birch bark or fire starter
  • Matches
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About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.