The Basics of Smokeless Fire
The secret to the best smokeless fire lies in how the fire is started and maintained. Here are the official Breeo® recommendations and best practices for fuel, starting the fire, tending the fire, and putting out the fire to help you get a flawless blaze every time you light your Breeo® smokeless fire pit.
When choosing fuel for your fire, remember that there are 3 types: firestarter (tinder), kindling, and cord wood (main fuel). Each of these types matter significantly to the overall health of your fire throughout the burn, and they’re all related when it comes to scoring a smokeless fire. The better the firestarter, the less important it is to have high quality kindling and cord wood, and the opposites are also true. For example, a really strong firestarter can help to make up for a slightly less than ideal kindling. That said, the best results will be achieved if all three elements are quality materials, dry, and split.
First, we recommend using a natural firestarter, such as wax dipped tumbleweed or fatwood (resin-soaked pine) pieces. Shredding newspaper or cardboard with the grain to make them curl can also work (you’ll want to think “more airflow” throughout the whole fire building process). Using a natural firestarter is important to prevent any carcinogens and nasty gas flavor or smell from permeating your fire.
Next, let’s talk about kindling. This is especially important for creating a bridge between the first spark and the roaring flames. Without good kindling, your fire will smolder out with a cloud of smoke. We recommend using dry softwoods split down between half an inch and 1.5” in diameter, although very dry hardwoods can work as well. Dried pine 2”x4”s make great kindling; just remember to split it.
Last, you have your cord wood. This will be dried, split wood as small as 2” and no bigger than 4” in diameter. It’s extremely important that your cord wood, as with your kindling, be thoroughly dried. If possible, using kiln-dried wood that’s been stored out of the elements ensures you won’t have any issues with moisture. If you’re planning to cook, hardwoods are ideal. You’ll also want to note that different types of wood produce different types of flames. For example, birch is a great choice for getting large, healthy flames.
Do’s of Choosing Your Fuel
- Choose dry wood
- Split all kindling and cord wood
- Use a natural fire starter, like tumbleweeds, or shredded newspaper or cardboard
Don’ts of Choosing Your Fuel
- Use damp wood or pieces larger than 4 inches in diameter
- Use lighter fluids, liquid accelerants, or any petroleum-based starter
Starting Your Fire
Now that you’ve carefully selected your fuel, you’re going to enter what we like to call “fire-starting mode”. Fire-starting mode is being on standby, ready for the next step to keep the fire going. You’ll stay in fire-starting mode until your fire pit is full of flames and going strong (this usually takes between 10-20 minutes). So, what are the steps to start the fire? Let’s walk through them.
1. Build a log cabin. Start with 2 full-size pieces of cord wood and lay them caddy-corner across from each other on the X Airflow™ technology. Then, you’ll lay two pieces of kindling perpendicular across those. Fill the inside square with your firestarter. Continue with the pattern in kindling until it approaches the top of your fire pit, filling the center with firestarter as you go, if you’re using newspaper or cardboard. If you’re using another type of firestarter, you can place it in the middle when you start building, but there’s no need to fill the whole structure with it. As you start to get close to the top of the fire pit, make sure that the “cabin” tapers inward
2. Light it up. Using a grill lighter or a long match, light the firestarter at the bottom of the log cabin. We don’t recommend using matches, as they can be more hazardous and are harder to use when you’re reaching into the bottom of the fire pit.
3. Feed the flames. Once you’ve got a tiny blaze going, start adding cord wood without disrupting or knocking over the kindling cabin. You’ll want to start with smaller cord wood pieces and get gradually larger as the fire grows. As you add, make sure to keep the cord wood stacked no higher than the rim of the fire pit.
After you’ve gone through those steps and your fire is roaring, you can kick back a little bit and switch your internal fire-starting mode to “off”. Congratulations! You’ve built a successful fire in your Breeo® smokeless fire pit.
Do’s of Fire Starting
- Think about airflow when you build the “log cabin”
- Use a grill lighter to light it
Don’ts of Fire Starting
- Use any liquid accelerants - they’ll burn off the wood and leave you with a smoky pile of wood
- Use a synthetic starter if you’re going to cook over the fire
Tending Your Fire
As you kick back, relax, and enjoy your smokeless fire, here are a few things to do to keep the fire strong and smokeless.
As needed, add cord wood to the fire, maintaining the airflow and perpendicular pattern. Whenever possible, you want to think about how you can add pieces or adjust pieces to yield good airflow on all sides of each piece of wood.
You’ll also want to start adding the wood consistently, working your way to the edges of the fire pit to enhance the secondary combustion. Don’t wait until the fire has burned down to add pieces. Doing this will disrupt the fire, causing clouds of smoke. It’s much better to add small amounts of wood consistently before the fire burns down much. As it burns, try to keep the wood and coals evenly dispersed throughout the fire pit. Add 1-2 pieces of wood at a time.
We want to add the wood to the edges of the fire pit so the whole surface of the fire pit can get hot, which causes the air to rise through the double walls and results in the reburn at the holes around the rim.
If the fire does burn down to coals, add more kindling, rather than cord wood, to get it back to the flame volume you prefer, before transitioning back to cord wood. Adding cord wood when the fire has burned down will produce smoke. Make sure you’re still splitting all the wood that you place on the fire - both kindling and cord wood. The wood should never be larger than 4 inches in diameter.
Do’s of Fire Tending
- Add new pieces of wood perpendicularly to other pieces of wood, focusing on allowing airflow
- Use kindling to keep the fire going if it starts to die down.
Don’ts of Fire Tending
- Let the fire burn down and then add cord wood
- Add pieces of wood right next to each other without room for airflow
Putting Out Your Fire
From start to finish, thinking about airflow for fires in your Breeo® fire pit past, present, and future is key. For this reason, we always recommend letting the fire burn out on its own, unless there’s an emergency. You never want to pour water on your fire because it will make a mess of the ash and clog up the X Airflow™ technology at the bottom of your fire pit.
Since you’ll be leaving your fire pit burning until it dies, it’s extra important to never leave your fire unattended. If you do have to walk away, make sure it’s covered by a spark screen so that the wind can’t lift hot coals or sparks out of the fire pit. You’ll also want to ensure there’s nothing leaning against your fire pit or close enough that it could be damaged or catch on fire.
Since Breeo® smokeless fire pits are built to burn so efficiently, when your fire burns down, it’ll burn into a fine ash powder that you can easily scoop or dump out. It’s important to clean out the ash in your fire pit every 3-5 burns to keep the X Airflow™ technology clear and ready for the next burn.
Do’s of Putting Out Your Fire
- Let it burn down out
- Cover with a spark screen if you have to walk away
- Remove ash after the fire pit cools
Don’ts of Putting Out Your Fire
- Dump water on the fire to put it out
- Leave your fire unattended