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How to Light a Chiminea Correctly and Safely

A great visual feature, as well as functional, a chiminea can keep you warm on even the coldest of nights. Though knowing how to light one can be a bit of a struggle, especially if you’re not used to doing it. If you feel a little intimidated when it comes to lighting a chiminea, you need not worry, as there are steps you can take to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and not up in flames.

Choose a Permanent Location

The first thing you need to do is to find a permanent location for the chiminea you have. This is to stop it from cracking, should you decide to move it from it’s original location. Be careful when doing this, as if you have one that is made from cast iron, it will be extremely heavy. Because of this, think about getting some friends to help you, when it comes to moving the chiminea.

Pick a location that is going to allow everyone to gather around, though won’t be in the way should you have children about, that will be running through the garden.

Add Sand/Gravel

Once you have picked a location for your chiminea, the next step is to fill it with about 4 inches of sand or gravel. The will keep the coal, or even logs, off of the base inside of the chiminea. There will also be the added effect of the fire being able to rise higher, giving the effect of it coming above the opening. Though this might just sound like something aesthetic, it actually serves a greater purpose, as smoke is forced to come out at the top as a result, rather than the front of the chiminea.

Insert Wood

You’ll then went to look into inserting some dry firewood inside the chiminea. If you can, try and get some seasoned logs, as these tend to burn for longer periods of time. The best kind of logs have a burn time of at least two or three hours. If you can, try and stockpile your logs ahead of time, giving you the chance to use your chiminea whenever you choose to.

Add Newspaper

By adding newspaper, you’ll be able to fill the gaps between the firewood. This will ensure that the fire will burn well once it starts to get going. If you choose to, you can also try and add some fire lighter blocks to the wood, though this should not be needed if you have good wood in the first place.

Remember though, to never use any type of liquid fuel such as lighter fuel, or even petrol. This has the potential to create an uncontrollable flame that could present a risk to you, and your guests.


Kindling, also known as small bits of wood or twigs, will help to keep the fire burning for longer. It will also help the control of the flame, as it stops it from getting out of hand.


Lighting a chiminea can be done with the help of long fireplace matches or an effective grill lighter. You will want to start with lighting the newspaper, as this will cause the kindling to catch, and then the wood will also eventually start to burn.

Nice and Warm

A chiminea can keep you nice and warm on a cool summer night, though they can pose a risk if they are not lit properly. It’s important therefore you learn the steps ahead of time, so you don’t ruin what was an otherwise perfect evening.

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