Let’s face it. Getting your fireplace or stove fire lit quickly and easily can be hit or miss.

You’ve been there; desperately trying to stuff paper below the wood stack in a vain attempt to spark your fire, because the kindling you first placed at the bottom of the pile burnt out before igniting your fire.

Well, what if we at the Chimney Safety Institute of America told you that their was a way to easily start a fire…every time…and with less smoke!?!

Okay, there is such a way, but it will require a leap of faith on your part; a conscious decision to abandon the “log cabin” style of fire building that you were raised on.

This, our friends, is the top down approach to building a fire, where you place the kindling on top and enjoy a stress free fire-lighting experience.

1.   Place your largest pieces of wood in the bottom of your fireplace or wood stove with the ends of the logs at the front and back (don’t let the logs run parallel to the fireplace opening).

2.   After placing the bottom row, add levels of smaller logs on top of your large base logs until the wood is stacked to about half the height of the fireplace.

3.   Now it’s time to add your kindling, stretching it across the top of your wood stack with the biggest pieces of kindling going first and working your way up to just wood shavings on top of the pile, stopping just below the fireplace opening.

4.   Light the wood shavings on the top of the wood stack – it should take just a single match!

We consider the top down approach to fire building to be a “light it and you’re done” kinda thing. Even better, you’ll notice less smoke by lighting from the top, and you won’t have large logs collapsing down into smaller ones as the fire burns, which will help keep embers and ash from being pushed out into your living space.