In either a wood stove or fireplace, the easiest and best fire is built by using a mixture of both softwoods–from trees such as pines and firs–and hardwoods, such as oak, eucalyptus, cedar and so on. Softwoods start burning easily, and the hardwoods provide for long burning and good "coaling" qualities. A bed of ashes underneath the grate produces steady heat and aids in igniting new fuel as it is added. The fire will continue burning if small amounts of wood are added at regular intervals. In fact, more efficient combustion results from burning small loads of wood with sufficient air than from burning large loads with minimal air.
Keep an extra tool set in your car or truck. Think of it as an insurance policy against road emergencies. You’ll be glad they’re there when you need them.