Best Way to Start a Woodstove Fire

Learn some techniques to easily start a fire in your woodstove.

October/November 2017
By Cam Mather

After 15 years of living with a woodstove, I’ve lit many, many fires, and I believe I’ve nailed down the optimal way to start one. I’ve often cringed while watching others try to light their woodstoves, so I know this is a skill that doesn’t come easily to many people. I’m sure lots of other strategies would work; I just know mine works well.

newspaper in woodstove

Photo by Cam Mather

Step 1. The first step is to gather lots of newspaper — not the little advertising flyers that come in your mailbox, not magazines or catalogs, not your old high school history notes or old mutual fund statements. Use newspaper. If you don’t get a daily paper, ask your neighbors for theirs, or start raiding recycling bins on recycling night. If you do this year-round, you’ll have a good stockpile when winter rolls around.