Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Fire lighting 

Since I did my Forest Schools course in October I’ve been developing confidence with making fire. 

Rather than doing this as a public  nuisance, I’ve been practicing with our wood burning stove. 

The stove is a French model that we bought from a renovator a few years back.  It’s very compact because the living space is quite small but it’s a great way to boost the heating in the house. 


I wanted to find a good way to start a fire With a spark. The fluff and lint from tumble dryers is a great way to do this rather than using cotton wool. As we don’t have a tumble dryer for environmental reasons I decided to see if anyone I knew had the fluff for me. I’m a recycling nut so it’s a good thing. 

The contributions are rolling in so far. 

Orange Peel

Another useful fire starter is dried orange peel. It’s prolifically available at school lunchtime and the oil in it is a good excellerant. 


Pine Cones

These great seed holders are a fabulous source of kindling. The local pine trees were very obliging. 

It’s been really enlightening finding natural and recycled resources. I’ve also been developing skills. My mum taught me how to make newspaper firelighters when I was a child. 

It’s a simple process of folding 2 sheets of newspaper into 2 narrow strips. These are then concertina-ed into a compact corkscrew by folding them across each other. 

Paper pulp Briquettes

We also use paper briquettes to fuel the fire. We make them with a press and recycle our household paper. 

Fire Structure

In the wood stove I create a waffle fire formation. I do this by placing two slim pieces of wood along the sides of the fire. 

These run alongside some crumpled paper and a newspaper firefighter. I top them with some pices of kindling wood across the two supporting pieces. 

These support a larger piece of firewood. 

I light the newspaper at the bottom. This creates enough flame to trigger the kindling. This in turn creates enough heat and fire for the larger wood to catch. Et voila! 

Do you have any unusual ways of lighting or sustaining fires? 

10 comments on “Fire lighting 

  1. bcparkison
    November 21, 2016

    What a pretty stove. I love,love an real fireplace, but last year my son talked us into putting his wood heater in our firebox to give more heat. My husband had just had a heart attack and wasn’t going to be Paul Bunyun (sp).We talked about taking it out this year but saddly he passed away in August and that is one thing we didn’t get to do. It remains to be seen how often I set a fire in the box, but I do know how. Stay warm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      December 10, 2016

      That’s very sad. I wish you all the best. The fire could be a challenge.


  2. Eddy Winko
    November 21, 2016

    Lovely looking wood burner.
    We use the dried branches of silver birch that I strip before cutting up the main tree for firewood. Tied is small hand sixed bundles and left to dry, they never fail to get a fire started, you can even tie the bundles with the thinner pliable branches wrapped around and tucked under themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      December 10, 2016

      That’s a great tip too. I love the way the bark can be useful as a starter for sparks.


  3. prolificprojectstarter
    November 21, 2016

    When we go camping, normally my husband lights the fire. But this summer I went camping with a friend of mine and (nearly all of) our kids and the dad’s were left at home. I was slightly worried about lighting the fire, especially as my son thinks its cheating to use matches and prefers a flint and steel (well, the modern version). I shouldn’t have been worried, the kids knew to collect thistledown fluff (for catching the spark, like your tumbledrier fluff) and dead pieces of gorse, which burn really quickly and are like natural firelighters. We were just fine. (although it had been very dry, not sure we’d’ve managed so well if things were damp)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      December 10, 2016

      Well done. I waited till my husband was away for a week and then I could get on with it myself. Learned quite a bit about sustaining it.


  4. Emily Scott
    November 22, 2016

    Thanks for the tips, they will be useful for my smoker. I use egg boxes a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      December 10, 2016

      Egg boxes are really handy we don’t have many. We have our own hens.


  5. Hilda
    November 25, 2016

    I love your wood stove. I am so-so at making fires and try to leave it to someone else when possible, but I will recommend some of your tips. The orange peel sounds particularly ap’peel’ing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      December 10, 2016

      I’m finding that one of the best things to get the fire started is pine cones. They are a real little furnace. I’m getting more confident now.


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