When winter arrives and the air has turned chilly in the evenings, there aren't many things nicer than a crackling fireplace to warm both your body and your spirit. In fact, relaxing in front of an open fire is such a wonderful experience that many people long for winter for this very reason.
Before the cold season actually arrives, you should make sure you're ready to get those warm fires going. Stocking up on a good-quality firewood, like red gum firewood, is the essential first step, but straight after that, you should begin getting the wood ready for winter.
Follow these tips and you'll be well prepared for your first fire when the temperature dips outside.
Check that the wood is seasoned
In most cases, when you buy firewood, it should already be seasoned. however, it's worth asking before you buy so you can make sure this is the case.
If you're unable to get a hold of pre-seasoned wood, you'll need a bit longer to prepare for winter. You should stock up on firewood as early as possible so you have plenty of time for it to dry out in the hot summer sun.
Store your logs wisely
Seasoned logs can become quite wet again if they're stored incorrectly, defeating the whole purpose of drying them.
Indoor storage is the best way to keep firewood dry, but it's impossible for the vast majority of people. Instead, make sure your outdoor storage is well sheltered from the elements, and cover the wood with a tarp if you think it will be necessary.
Store your logs on a platform to keep them off the ground, and avoid stacking them too high—you'll need to reach them easily, and avoid accidental toppling. You should allow some space for ventilation to keep them dry.
Is the size right for you?
Firewood needs to fit comfortably inside your fireplace, but that's not all. You need to be able to arrange a few pieces into an effective shape to get a good fire going. For this, you'll need a few smaller logs as well as large ones.
If your wood hasn't been split, do so yourself as soon as possible, using an axe or a log splitter. Consider splitting some half logs into quarters so you have a mix of sizes. It's best to do this while the weather is still warm so you don't have to spend more time than necessary outside in the cold.
Remember the extras
Firewood is easy to remember, but don't forget that you'll also need tinder and kindling to get a fire started. Buy this at the same time as your logs so you're more likely to remember.