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How to Light a Chiminea

Updated February 21, 2019

A chiminea (freestanding fireplace) can warm your guests up on a cool evening of outdoor entertaining. Safer than an open fire, and more practical, a chiminea can be used in a variety of settings where outdoor warmth is desired. Lighting the chiminea and keeping it burning is not difficult, but it may take some practice. The trick is not to get the fire inside the chiminea to start; it's to keep it going.

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  1. Place two pieces of seasoned, split firewood inside the opening of the chiminea. Next, add a few pieces of balled-up newspaper in the gap between the two pieces of firewood.

  2. Add a few pieces of kindling on top of the pieces of newspaper. Kindling can be any type of dried wood pieces such as, small sticks, twigs or dried grasses.

  3. Light the balled up pieces of newspaper with a fireplace match or butane grill lighter. As the newspaper and kindling begins to burn, add another handful of kindling to grow the fire with more intensity. The kindling will eventually ignite the wood logs and create a good burn.

  4. Add a few more split firewood pieces once the kindling has been exhausted. At this point there should be a full fire burning in the chiminea.

  5. Continue adding more pieces of firewood to keep the fire going inside the chiminea. If the fire loses intensity, add more kindling along with the firewood.

  6. Tip

    Fire starters can also be used to light your chiminea. The fire starters placed in between the split logs, will work just as well as the balled up paper, and may be a bit more reliable.


    Take note of the colour smoke that is being released by the chiminea. It should always be white or clear. If the smoke is dark black or grey, it is a sign the chiminea is experiencing problems. This could be a sign of poor combustion, and should be corrected. If you are unsure how to fix the problem, contact the manufacturer. Check with your community or township for ordinances on outdoor fireplaces or outdoor burning. Chimineas are for outdoor use only. Under no circumstances use your chiminea indoors.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bundles of seasoned, split firewood
  • Newspaper
  • Kindling
  • Fireplace matches
  • Butane grill lighter

About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.

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