Clean Out the Wet Ash
If it’s rained overnight, the ash in your outdoor fireplace can be wet. If you don’t remove that wet ash, considerable energy from the fire is used to dry the ash rather than warming up your fire and the surrounding area.
If you are having trouble cooking this could be the cause. Grab a steel spade and a bucket and scrape out the ash.
If your ash isn’t wet, leave the ash in there, it helps form a good ember base which is great for cooking and actually makes it easier to light your fire.