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How to build the perfect fire

Whether you have recently invested in a new open fire or perhaps a log or multi-fuel stove, one of the first things you will be dying to do is get a successful fire going.

To the uninitiated, building that first fire can seem like quite a challenge; however, by following a few well-tested tips, you will soon be enjoying the comfort and cosy atmosphere that only a real fire creates.

The first thing to do is gather together all the supplies required to get your fire started. Grab an old newspaper, some firelighters (although true pros tend to look down their noses at these!), kindling and your choice of fuel - wood or coal, or you can use both - and a box of matches.

Like any task done with care, the key to building a successful fire is in the detail. Take five to ten sheets of the newspaper - if your fireplace or stove is on the large side, you may need more - and roll each sheet into a thin strip, which you should then tie in a nice tight knot. This is a very efficient way to create lots of lovely heat right in the centre of the fire. Cluster all your knotted newspaper together and add a few firelighters at intervals. Kindling goes on next, although less is more in this instance - you just need sufficient to help your main fuel to catch well.

If you want to set your fire up to burn well over several hours, adding a few lumps of coal at this stage is advisable; however, ensure that you leave enough space for the air to circulate, as this gets the oxygen where it needs to be to create a truly roaring fire.

Light the newspaper in multiple places, and also the firelighters if you are using them. This should be enough to get the fire going well, although many aficionados also opt to blow heartily on the emerging flames at this point. If you do this, be careful - don’t get close enough to singe your hair or eyebrows!

Having laid good foundations, your fire should catch easily but, of course, this is not the end of the story. You will need to build up the fire with a couple of strategically placed logs, once again paying close attention to the need for efficient air flow. You can also top up with coal if you so desire.

Once the fire is burning merrily, make sure that you keep an eye on it, adding further logs and/or coal as and when required.

The Fireplace Warehouse stock a wide range of fire accessories to help you burn it perfectly.