How to Start a Fire Without a Starter Log

by Steven Kittinger
A blazing fire

A blazing fire

Whether you are in the middle of the woods or settled in your home on a cold winter's night, fires can be a great source of heat and light. To get a fire started, the simplest and easiest way is to use a starter log. But if you happen to be stuck without one of these convenient devices, it is not the end of the world. You can still construct a roaring fire in no time.

  1. Place two pieces of firewood in a cleared area or fireplace, away from any flammable objects. Position the pieces of firewood parallel to each other and 4 to 5 inches apart.

  2. Crumple five or six pages of newspaper into compact balls and insert them between the two pieces of firewood.

  3. On top of the newspaper, fill the remainder of the space between the firewood with kindling, or small dry pieces of wood.

  4. Use a match to light the newspaper in several places, being careful not to burn yourself.

  5. Once the newspaper and kindling have started to burn, add more firewood as needed to keep the fire going.

Items you will need

  • Firewood
  • Newspaper
  • Kindling
  • Matches


  • If you have trouble lighting the newspaper and kindling, lightly blow on the flames. This helps air reach the fire, which will keep it burning.


  • Fires can be dangerous, so keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case the flames get out of control.

About the Author

Steven Kittinger graduated from the Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in cinema/television. Over the past seven years, he has written, directed and edited a number of short films and a feature. He has also made more than 70 how-to videos for the Internet.

Photo Credits

  • Flame of a fire and fire wood in fireplace image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from Fotolia.com