This has nothing to do with standing on your head or starting a fire in outer space. This has everything to do with the amount of time you spend tending to your fires this winter. I have known about the upside down fire for about a year now, but I didn't have any luck with it until tonight. My previously attempts failed because I skipped some of the log layers. Once I added them in, it worked great. Here is the basic setup:
1) Place large logs on the BOTTOM of the pile
2) Add slightly smaller logs on top of the big logs, but lay them in the opposite direction
3) Continue adding layer after layer of smaller and smaller logs until you are down to kindling. I had a total of four layers of logs, including the kindling.
4) Add some pieces of paper on top of everything.
5) Finally, add a fire-starter log in the middle of the pile.
6) Light the fire-starter and walk away.
You won't see much action for about 20 minutes, which is how long the fire starters take to burn hot enough to light the kindling layer below. Once the kindling goes up, the embers will light the layer below that, eventually working it's way down through each layer of logs. I started my fire tonight at 7pm and I didn't touch it until 9pm when I added another few logs. This is the lowest maintenance fire I have ever built, and it burns really REALLY hot. The only down side is that it takes a quite a bit longer to get going than your standard fire, but if you can live with that it's a great alternative! Here is a link to the original article I used to build my upside-down fire:
Here are some photos of my fire as it burns through each of the layers: