How to Light a Chiminea

Chimineas are a great way to keep you warm while enjoying the outdoors with your friends and family. They are bigger than a fire pit or wood burner and can generate more radiant heat.

While chimineas are quite effective in keeping you warm, you have to be careful while lighting one. If you use the wrong type of liquid fuel, you might injure yourself and damage the chiminea.

So that doesn’t happen, we will show you how to light a chiminea safely and guide you through the various steps.

Where to Place a Chimnea

Some chimineas are made from a material that can crack easily. Others are made of cast iron and tend to be quite heavy. Due to both of these reasons, we recommend that you install your fire-burning device in a permanent position.

Also, make sure that you place it in an outdoor space and away from other objects. You will find that lighting a fire outdoors is easier than lighting a fire indoors, and it’s also less of a health hazard.

Items Needed to Light a Chiminea

Here are some of the items that might help you light up a chiminea:

  • Sand or gravel
  • Scrunched up newspaper
  • Pieces of dry firewood
  • Dry kindling
  • A long fireplace match or a fireplace butane grill lighter

Step by Step Guide on How to Light up a Chiminea Safely

Before you attempt to light a chiminea, you must know how to use it. Once you are confident, follow the steps below on how to light a chiminea safely and properly.

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Start by getting rid of any combustible materials that might be close to the chiminea. Next, check if the chiminea is on a surface with a flat, levelled and stable base. If the chiminea is on an irregular surface, it might be unstable and will likely topple over.

Step 2: Put Sand Into the Chiminea

You can either use sand or gravel in this step, as they perform the same task.

Before adding anything else, put some sand or gravel inside the chiminea. The sand and gravel will help minimise the amount of smoke that could be produced.

We recommend that the sand bed or the gravel bed be around four inches thick for the greatest effect.

Step 3: Put Wood Into the Chiminea

Put some pieces of wood into the chiminea. You can use seasoned logs in this step, as seasoned logs burn consistently and produce more heat than other types of fire logs.

You can also opt for firewood that burns for a long time. To create a nice roaring fire, arrange the fire logs orderly, with some gaps between the air to pass through.

Step 4:Add Some Scrunched up Newspapers

Place some newspapers in between the fire logs, as these provide additional kindling and can safely light up a chiminea. Do not use petrol and other fuels while lighting up a chiminea, as these can be dangerous and may cause harm if not used properly and safely.

Once you place the newspapers in between the chunks of wood, place some smaller pieces of wood, including twigs and sticks, as additional kindling on top of the newspaper. This will help light a fire easily and help spread the flames across all pieces of firewood.

Step 5: Light It Up

The next thing that you need to do is to start the fire using a long fireplace match stick or a butane grill lighter. Light the match stick or butane lighter and place it close to the twigs.

Once the fire spreads to the newspaper, you can add some more twigs to keep the fire burning. However, do not add too many twigs at once, as an excess amount of twigs might choke the flames and put it out.

Step 6: Keeping the Fire Going

A chiminea outside with a large fire burning

After the newspaper and the kindling have caught on fire, it will spread to the pieces of split firewood inside your chiminea. Through this transition, your chiminea will start giving off more heat.

To keep the fire burning, consistently keep adding the same amount of logs to the fire as they die down, or add more firewood to make it burn with more intensity.

Do be aware of the placement of your chiminea, though. For example, if you’ve placed it in a windy spot with a lot of cold air, the fire pit might produce some huge flames, with burning embers and smoke blowing in different directions.

More Tips on How to Light a Chiminea Safely

Here are some other useful tips that will come in handy when lighting a chiminea:


Your chiminea should be away from any flammable materials and items that could easily melt if glowing embers accidentally land on them. Therefore, ensure that you position it so that it is at a safe distance from any flammables.

Do Not Move the Chiminea

Once you place your chiminea in one spot that is sturdy and flat, we recommend moving it as little as possible. Chimineas are quite heavy and therefore might exert excess pressure on your back if you try and move them, but some models can also be quite fragile or brittle and crack quite easily if moved too much.


If you are lighting your chiminea for the first time, we recommend curing your log burner, also known as seasoning. Ensure that your initial fire is not too big and that you also have enough control over it to damage the chiminea.

Place a few chunks of firewood into the chiminea, then light them up. Let the pieces of firewood burn for a certain period until they extinguish completely. You can do this many times until the chiminea becomes strong enough to handle large flames and high temperatures.

Be on the Lookout for Sparks

Since a chiminea can produce many sparks, you have to look for an appliance that can help you minimise such sparks. Sparks can float in the air and land on different items and easily cause a fire. To help combat this, consider purchasing a spark arrestor. These devices help you reduce the number of sparks that fly out of your chiminea and offer you and your family greater safety.

Control Flames and Avoid a Roaring Fire

Most heat chimineas are not manufactured to handle huge flames or a large open fire. Therefore, if the temperatures exceed a certain point and start producing glowing embers inside the chiminea, the chiminea might crack due to this excess heat. To prevent this from happening, you must control the fire and ensure you have a consistent fire burning that remains around the same temperature.

Avoid Fire Accelerants

Do not put any fuel straight into the chiminea. While fire accelerants (liquid fuel) can help you light up a fire easily, you should not use them for chimineas.

Examples of such fuels include petrol and kerosine, which can increase the risk of injuries. Instead, we recommend only using kindling to light up the chiminea carefully. Some examples of the kindlings that might help you light your chiminea are self-lighting charcoal, solid paraffin firelighter, twigs, lighters and dry papers.

Do Not Use Your Chiminea in a Dry Season

Using a chiminea in a dry season can be quite risky. Sparks from the chiminea can land on different plants and bushes and ignite a fire. Not to mention, some dry seasons are quite windy and may make it more difficult to control the flames.

Safety First

And there you have it, everything you need to know about lighting a chiminea safely. Make sure that you pour sand into the interior compartment before you light up your chiminea. Finally, to light a chiminea safely, avoid using fire accelerants and use kindling like twigs instead.

A chiminea is an effective appliance that can provide heat outdoors and is an excellent way to keep yourself warm at night.

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