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Starting the Perfect Indoor Fire: A How-To Guide for City Folks

Updated: May 17, 2023


Suddenly It’s that time of year again...the temperatures are dropping, leaves have fallen, and for many, it feels like the perfect time to plan a cozy winter getaway. A winter escape can be the perfect solution to reducing holiday stress, easing into the new year, or simply investing in some long-overdue R&R. Whether you’re dreaming of a luxury cabin rental, a winter yurt experience, or a tiny home hangout, there are a few things you should know before heading out that will help you make the most of your stay.

You can probably picture it now - a cottage or luxury cabin dusted in snow. The candles are lit, the wine is uncorked, and you’re ready to settle in for an evening of relaxation, reading, tea, or whatever else your heart desires. But the night wouldn’t be complete without an authentic fire to keep your cabin warm and toasty. If you’re anything like the majority of our visitors, you wouldn’t exactly consider yourself an expert when it comes to building an effective fire in a wood-burning stove or fireplace. Not to worry, it’s not as difficult as it may seem, so set any feelings of intimidation or concern aside and learn how to build your very own fire and set the ambiance of your stay.

  1. Sweep aside any ashes. Use the fireplace broom to sweep away any leftover ashes. We do our best to keep fireplaces clean and ready for use, but if there’s any ash left behind, brush it aside for the best results.

  2. Make sure the damper is open. This allows smoke to leave the fireplace and escape through the chimney.

  3. While we’re confident you can manage this part on your own, there are a few ways that are more likely to lead to a successful fire. Start by putting a few smaller pieces right on the grate in a small pile. Otherwise known as kindling, these small, cell phone-sized wood pieces are going to light quickly and help the rest of your wood catch fire.

  4. Once you’ve added kindling, you’re ready to grab your larger logs. Contrary to popular belief, less is actually more when it comes to building a fire. Take two or three large pieces and lean them up against each other over the kindling. You’re going to want to aim for a teepee shape, leaning at least two pieces up against each other to create a peak.

  5. After you’ve stacked your wood atop your kindling, you might want to ball up some newspaper or magazine bits and stick them under the grate. This acts as kindling for your kindling and can help get your fire started as painlessly as possible. No worries if you don’t have newspaper or magazine bits on hand, you’ll get by just fine without.

  6. Finally, you’re ready to light! Use a long-stem lighter to light the base of your fire (paper or kindling). You’ll want to light a few areas, try lighting at least one piece on the left, one piece on the right, and one right in the middle. Use your lungs to gently blow air onto the first sparks of your fire and watch it start to glow. While it may be tempting to reach for the fire poker, wait until your larger logs are lit to mess with the structure of your fire. Don’t forget to close your fire screen. You don’t want any unwanted embers hitting the pretty rug or curtains in your cabin.

  7. Sit back, open a bottle of wine, and watch your masterpiece catch flame. Don’t worry if it takes a few minutes, good things take time!

  8. When it’s time to add more wood (you’ll know it’s time when your longest logs no longer have wood-like surfaces showing), use your poker to adjust logs and prepare a safe space for a fresh log to land. Choose your piece, carefully open the fireplace door, and set your log atop your fire in a way that feels safe and sturdy.

Look at that, you’re a natural! Now you can bask in the glow of your very own fire and enjoy the scents, sights, and coziness that accompanies a happy fire in your cabin. Of course, your safety is our top priority. If you don’t feel comfortable lighting or adjusting your fire, that’s okay, too.

Always practice caution when handling lighters and fire.

Luxury fireplace midnight moon cabins

Midnight Moon Cabins offers an array of modern luxury dog-friendly cabin rentals right in the heart of Big Bear Lake, Ca. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are just a short drive away, as are the many other fun activities in the village and surrounding area.

Complete your mountain adventures in Big Bear with a blazing fire, warm apple cider, and an unforgettable cabin stay.


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