How to Light Wet Firewood

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When people go camping, there are few things more frustrating than having a hard time lighting a fire because the wood is wet. Sometimes, it is simply inconvenient that you cannot sit around the fire. But other times, a fire is necessary to cook food or boil water. In most instances, using a few different techniques will allow you to light a fire even if the wood is wet.

Get the wood off the ground. Wet ground will not help when you try to light a fire or keep it going, so place rocks or gravel on the ground and build your fire on top of them.

Collect as much small wood -- known as kindling -- as you can. Look for places where you might find dry kindling, like under trees or leaves. The best kindling is 6 inches to a foot long, and thin enough that it is easy to snap. If the outside of the kindling is wet, remove the bark.

Collect mid-sized firewood. This may be about 12 inches long and about the diameter of your fist. Again, look for pieces of wood without bark. If some pieces have bark on them, strip it off.

Place small strips of paper or little pieces flammable garbage atop the rocks or gravel in your fire pit. Place kindling over the top in the shape of a chimney. Use a match or lighter to light the paper in several spots. When you have flames, add more kindling until the fire is burning on its own.

Add several pieces of the mid-sized wood over the top of the kindling. Arrange the mid-sized wood in a tee-pee shape, which will allow air to help the fire burn. Start with four or five pieces, and add more as the fire begins to burn hotter.


  • If you have lighter fluid, douse several pieces of mid-sized wood with it before putting the wood in the fire. The fluid will help the piece of wood catch fire. Do not squirt lighter fluid directly onto the fire.


About the Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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