How to Bank a Fire Indoors & Outdoors [Easy]

  • Banking a fireplace generally means preserving, instead of extinguishing, a fire so that the remaining heat makes it easy to restart the next morning
  • This can be done in outdoor fires or indoor fires
  • For indoor fires, it’s only recommended to ‘bank ashes’ over the coals in closed units like inserts or wood stoves, not open fireplaces, which is considered unsafe (here’s how)
  • When done outdoors, banking a fire means constructing a wall out of stones or rocks around your fire pit or starting a fire adjacent to a dirt or rock wall so that the wind is blocked (here’s how)
  • If your fire’s coals are shielded enough from the wind and elements, it will generally have enough remaining heat to re-start in the morning
  • You can start by digging a pit and erecting a wall before lighting your flame
  • Use small dry pieces of logs, sticks, and twigs to start a flame at the center of the pit Gradually add more wood to build hot coals
  • Separate ashes from the embers using a rod
  • Cover them with the ash to maintain their heat till morning. You can also cover the logs to dry them more

Banking a fire is a way to keep the coals from your fire alive overnight, so that you can easily start a fresh fire in the morning. By building a wall out of rocks or stones around the fire pit, or by building the fire next to a rock or dirt wall, you can block the wind and keep the coals warm.

It’s a great trick to learn because it can save you a lot of time and effort in the morning. Plus, it’s just really cool to be able to keep a fire going all night long!

Banking A Fire Indoors In A Stove

Banking a fire usually involves using ashes to cover a stack of burnt coals, enabling the fire to be kept going without the need for refueling.

Safety is essential when using a fireplace. It’s important to note that it should be done safely in a fireplace or else there might be risks of fire damage to your home.

Banking A Fire Outdoors

To bank a fire means to surround it so that the wind cannot get near it. You can do this with rocks, stones or by building your fire next to an existing wall.

If you keep the coals from your fire protected, there will usually be enough heat left in them to easily start a fresh fire in the morning.

How to Bank a Fire in 6 Simple Steps

Enough and quality wood

Enough and quality wood

If you build your blaze using poor-quality logs, you may not have enough coals to bank. When you use high-quality logs, seasoned firewood, you are sure of getting enough to preserve. You will find it easy to light a flame in the morning. Make sure you have some fireplace gloves on hand, too- fires are much easier to tend when you have the right protective gear!

Quality blaze

Quality blaze

A well-burning blaze is vital in the process of banking your embers. Add more wood to your blaze to build strong coals to preserve.

A good shovel

Drawing out the ashes requires a spade when you want to preserve the coals. If your fire is big, you will need a large shovel– it’s an indispensable fireplace tool!

A fire poker

You will have to keep turning over the fire to get quality embers. At this point, you need a fire-resistant tool, like a poker. It will help you to poke the deepest part of the flame.

Once you have all of the above, you can proceed and preserve your embers for use the following morning. The steps herein will guide you on how to preserve hot coals.

Set Up a Flame Wall

You can only preserve the hot coals if you have a place to hold them safely. You will have to erect a good wall around the blaze as a camper. Use a few logs to erect a wall to shield your coals from dying out.

The wall will control the speed and force of the wind. The wall, in turn, regulates the oxygen levels, which allows for a slow-burning rate of the logs. You are guaranteed quality hot embers to preserve as the flame burns slowly.

If you do not have enough logs to use as a barrier, use stones or boulders. Pile the stones on each other, ensuring you leave little room for ventilation. Both walls help contain the flames within and reduce the chances of the coals dying out.

Dig a Fire Hole

Dig a Fire Hole

Choose a suitable place to dig a flame pit. Using the spade, scoop out the soil and grass. Build your flame, starting with the small sticks and wood. Add the large logs once the blaze gets strong.

When you are ready to retire, scoop out the ash from the pit (if you’re indoors, use an ash bucket!). Lay the unused logs over the embers, and ensure they are not close to them. These logs will keep the wind out while the heat emanating from the coals will dry the wood.

Prepare a Flame

Prepare a Flame

Prepare a good flame as it is the most important ingredient in the whole process of banking a fire. Since you aim to get embers to preserve, use the large logs. These burn slowly guaranteeing you sizeable coals that may not burn out.

As the flame burns, ashes will also accumulate. Poke the burning coal with a rod to ensure the flame is not choking in the ashes. Kindly keep the ashes; they are also vital for preserving the coals.

Erect a fence around the blaze to protect it from rapid burning and constant blowing away the embers. The fire needs the following to burn all night;

  • Enough logs. These should not be too dry or soggy. A little moisture in the logs will regulate the rate at which the log burns.
  • A controlled supply of oxygen. You can achieve this by erecting a stone wall. It will control the amount of wind that flows into the fire.
  • A regulated heat. Add logs only when necessary.

Add More Logs

Continue adding wood into the fire until you build enough coals that you will bank. You may do this in two different ways. Chop them into big chunks or put them wholly.

The chops will aid in building the hot embers. Use the whole logs to cushion them from the wind.

Use a Rod to Separate Ashes from Embers

Use a Rod to Separate Ashes from Embers

Do you have enough hot coals to bank? Take the rod, poke the fire and gently push the ash away from the coals. Make sure you are safe when carrying the separation.

Cover the Logs with Ash

Scoop the ash using a spade and cover the hot embers. This will limit oxygen reaching the embers and ensure no flame lights. Blanketing your hot embers should keep them hot until the morning.

Spread some onto the whole logs that did not burn completely. These are going to be the fire-starters as they will be dry enough.

Is your ash insufficient? You need not panic; push the embers together into a single huge pile. Rest assured, the heat will be intact come morning.

Are you going out camping or hiking? Depending on the activity you intend to participate in, how you prepare matters. This entails carrying tools for survival with you or not.

It is crucial to remember that a campfire is an utmost requirement. You may know how to start one, but can you maintain it overnight?

Preserving a flame is too easy once you know what to do and how. Bank your embers if you intend to sleep. Please, follow the steps stipulated in this article and apply them all in the right measure.

Preserving them will save you substantial time in lighting the fire later. It also guarantees you warmth throughout the night.

Summing Up

Are you worried about waking up to light your fire afresh again? Please, do not worry anymore. There is a solution to this, and that is fire preservation.

Fire preservation or banking is an old practice. Having a campfire is necessary when camping. However, how do you ensure that your blaze does not burn out completely?

You will have to put your flames out when you retire to sleep. You will not need to do this once you know how to preserve embers. Banking your hot coals will help you save on wood and other materials necessary for starting a blaze.

Are you ready to learn the art of fire banking? Kindly go through this article and learn the art of preserving your coals.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


How to Add a Blower to a Gas Fireplace

Blowers improve heat circulation in rooms. Some gas...

Empire Fireplaces: Everything You Need To Know

Who owns Empire Comfort Systems? Empire Comfort Systems is a...

5+ Dangers of a Cracked Flue + Fixes

The flue is the part of the fireplace...

How Do You Fix a Gas Fireplace That Keeps Going Out?

Make sure your pilot light is lit (here's...

How To Convert A Fireplace To A Wood Stove

Converting a fireplace into a wood stove is an...