What is the best firewood?


My Firewood Recommendations

The best firewood for fire pits

Both oak and walnut are the best types of firewood for a backyard fire pit.

You should choose black or white oak if you prefer that over walnut – but you’re going to have a great fire no matter what, so don’t worry about it that much at that point.

Ash is also a great option.

You probably know there’s more than one type of oak. You can choose between white and black oak if you go down that route.

And there’s more than one type of white oak – wood can get confusing!

Don’t worry. You should choose California black oak or Oregon white oak. California white oak is great as well, so don’t feel bad if that’s what you bought.

There’s also Valley oak and Coast oak – and while they’re not as good as the options mentioned above, they are quality options too.

Oak is great because it burns slow, lasts long, and leaves little ash for you to pick up.

Walnut burns similarly, but it may be harder to find in some places. So go for oak if you can.

Best firewood for wood stoves

I recommend using maple, oak, or ash if you want to start a homely fire in your wood stove.

At the same time, I highly discourage you from using softwood so you can avoid causing issues or damaging your stove in the long term.

As long as you go for quality hardwood, you will have no issues using your wood stove.

When it comes to softwood, things get trickier.

Your wood stove is delicate. You need to treat it with proper care and feed it quality wood.

Otherwise, you’re going to lose more money replacing or fixing your stove than you saved buying cheap softwood.

So, you better choose quality maple, oak, or ash.

Maple should be your go-to option because you can find it all over the country.

Oak is the overall better choice but a little more expensive, and ash is the easiest firewood to burn of all three.

Most softwood is a big no-no for the reasons stated above.

Saving a little money today is going to cost you a lot more tomorrow.

Best firewood for a fireplace

You should go for seasoned hardwood if you want to start a fire in your fireplace. Ash, birch, oak, and fruit tree are great for this scenario.

In contrast, driftwood and green wood are no good and should be avoided.

A wood stove is not that different from a fireplace.

You need to feed it quality wood unless you want to reinvest in changing or fixing your fireplace in a couple of years.

Because of that, go the hardwood route. Oak is always the best bet you can make in the fire game, but you can also trust other similar hardwoods like birch and ash.

Fruit tree wood is also great for this kind of thing, although they are more expensive than anything else mentioned above.

The price tag may be worth it, though, because of how good this wood smells when it burns.

You can probably tell I am going to recommend you stay away from softwood.

Avoid using driftwood and green (moist) wood. You need seasoned wood for your fireplace.

Best firewood for campfires

Starting a fire out in the wild is not that different from one at home. For that reason, hardwood is the best choice for a campfire.

Then again, you should burn whatever you have close by if you didn’t bring the wood with you to the camp.

While hardwood still is the best choice to start a fire, campfires tend to happen in a state of exception.

What does that mean? Well, it’s simple. When you’re out in the wild, you’re not in the comfort of your house.

So, you may want to start a fire to escape the cold, not to be warm and cozy inside.

In that scenario, go for whatever you can find. The drier, the better. Avoid rotten or damp wood.

You should worry about difficulty as well as availability.

In a campfire scenario, you might want to use softwood (if you have a choice) because it’s easier to burn. Sure, it doesn’t last as long – but it’s the best choice for a quick and easy fire to get by.

Be responsible out in the wild!

Yes, starting fires is an option. Being responsible is a must.

Best firewood for cooking

When it comes to cooking, you should always burn fruit tree to get a nice flavor kick that will take your food to the next level.

Hickory is the best for burgers, peach is perfect for seafood, and oak is an all-rounder that will go with almost everything.

Cooking is an art, not a science. You’ll have to play around with different recipes and a wide variety of wood to get that perfect combination that you’re after.

You can use our pointers if you want to start in the right direction, but keep in mind we’re not saying that’s the way you should go at it!

Cooking isn’t like using your wood-burning stove – it’s much more fun and challenging.

Then again, if you don’t feel like playing around, you can follow our guidelines.

Don’t know what to pick? Go with oak!

Best firewood for grilling

Apple wood is perfect for grilling. It will give your meat a mixture of smoky and sweet flavors everyone will love.

For recipes that need more cooking time, look for quality hardwood like oak.

Unlike general cooking, grilling has a few more rules. Or, at least, a few more tried-and-tested methods you can rely on.

For example, you need hardwood for long cookouts or recipes that require hours and hours of grilling. In that scenario, oak is probably the best choice.

That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment!

You are more than allowed to play around when you grill, especially when you are going to cook a nice steak (and feel like choosing different types of fruit tree there are).

You can try mesquite if you’re not sure what to start with.

Be advised this is one of the most distinct woods flavor-wise.

Are there different types of firewood?

The two most common types of firewood are softwood and hardwood.

Each one has its pros and cons, but you will often find that hardwood is the best choice by a wide margin.

For people who love long-lasting, quality fires, hardwood is the way to go.

You’re probably wondering about oak, ash, maple, and the many names you’ve come across.

Technically speaking, they’re types of firewood as well – but they fall under the hardwood and softwood category.

So, for example, the best kind of hardwood is oak, maple, ash, and most fruit trees.

Other types of hardwood can be great, mediocre, hit-or-miss, but you’ll never go wrong with those ones.

When it comes to softwood, alder, fir, poplar, and a few others should be your go-to options.

There are great pieces of softwood out there, but there’s a fair amount of lousy softwood as well.

What is the difference between types of firewood?

The main differences between hardwood and softwood are quality, aroma, efficiency, and price.

Hardwood takes the prize with everything except for its price. Softwood is usually the cheaper option as well as the worst one.

Hardwood burns for a long time, has an amazing aroma, is the cleanest, and will provide you with an overall quality fire for you to enjoy.

There are two major downsides with hardwood, though: it’s more expensive and may leave more ash than the alternative.

Softwood is cheaper and easier to handle.

While it may take some practice to burn hardwood, you can probably manage to have a nice fire with a pile of softwood, no matter your experience.

That comes at the expense of fire quality, though.

Hardwood is the go-to choice for people who want a long-lasting fire, whether you want to sit in front of it and enjoy it or use it to cook or grill.

Softwood is more of a beginner’s firewood as well as campfire wood.

When it comes to being out in the wild, you want something quick and easy and takes little to no preparation – and that’s softwood.

What is the most popular firewood?

Oak is the most popular type of firewood there is. Although it takes a long time to season, it’s the best piece of wood you can burn.

Coincidentally, it’s one of the most widespread types of wood there is.

You can’t blame anyone for liking oak. It’s the perfect firewood – it burns long and clean and smells great.

You can find it to be a little pricey depending on where you live – but it’s most definitely worth it.

The biggest downside with oak is how long it takes to season. You have a two year wait at a minimum if you want it to be properly seasoned – and that does sound like a long time at first.

When you prepare a batch of oak every year, you’ll hardly notice it, though.

There are different types of oak out there. California white oak seems to be the best one, but you can’t go wrong with oak, no matter the type.

What’s the easiest firewood to burn?

Softwood is the easiest type of wood you can burn.

More specifically, fir and alder will be what you need if you’re after an easy way to start a fire.

The drier your wood is, the easier it will be to burn, so keep that in mind.

I’m not going to beat over the metaphorical bush (I’d rather use its wood for a cozy fire) and repeat yet again why softwood is the easiest choice to burn.

What we’re going to do, though, is remind you not to rely on the easy way out.

Sure, softwood is easy to burn, specifically when it’s dry – but you should develop your fire building skills and start to use hardwood (that is more difficult to burn, but it’s worth the trouble).

What is the hardest firewood to burn?

Most people agree maple is the hardest firewood to burn.

The good thing about maple is that it will help you start amazing fires.

Maple is one of the top hardwood picks you can make.

The biggest problem with most hardwood options (other than price) is that it can take a little bit to burn it.

Or, better said, it can prove hard to burn it if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Maple embodies every issue and advantage hardwood has: it’s hard to burn and big enough that you need to take your time splitting logs – a beginner’s nightmare!

Once you start to master the right way to start fires, you’ll appreciate the effort it takes to do it – because you’ll soon see that your efforts come with a reward.

Yes, maple is the hardest firewood to burn – but it’s worth it.

Which firewood burns the longest?

Hardwood is what you should burn if you want a long-lasting fire. Any of the top-tier hardwood options will be great for that, as well as for a wide range of other reasons.

Look for maple, ash, oak, or fruit trees if you don’t know what to pick.

No type of wood burns forever, but some definitely last for a long time.

Most types of hardwood will help you achieve a long fire if that’s what you’re after.

You need hardwood that is both well-seasoned and dry.

Damp wood won’t give you a lasting fire (if you manage to light one at all) no matter the type.

Similarly, firewood that is too dry will consume quickly.

Look for oak, maple, ash, or anything similar with a 10 to 20% moisture content, and you’ll have the longest fires possible.

How can I make firewood burn longer?

To make sure your fire doesn’t die out as soon as it started, you need to provide proper airflow to the entire wooden structure you’ve created.

That’s right: structure matters. You can’t throw wood somewhere and hope it catches on fire.

The structure you’re using will change depending on where you’re starting the fire and what you’re using to start it.

For example, when starting a campfire, the teepee structure is the easiest and somewhat most efficient way to go at it.

When using wood stoves and other furnaces, your flue will make sure enough air goes into the fire, so you don’t have to worry too much about that.

Without going into specifics, the idea is simple: unless air can travel freely around the flames, your fire will die out because of a lack of oxygen.

So, if you want your fire to last for a long time, make sure there’s plenty of oxygen going around.

How do you burn firewood without smoke?

It’s impossible to burn wood without smoke, but you can always try to minimize the amount of smoke you’ll have during a fire.

The best way to achieve this goal is to burn wood that has the right amount of moisture and is seasoned properly.

You probably know that hardwood is way better than softwood when it comes to smoke.

You should also know that your wood must have 10 to 20% of moisture content; otherwise, you’re going to have plenty of smoke around you.

That’s the thing with wood: you’ll have smoke if it’s too dry, and you’ll have the same if it’s too damp.

You must find the right balance to get as little smoke as possible.

You can take care of the smoke if you’re using a wood stove or a fireplace.

In fact, most furnaces must properly deal with smoke via flues.

If you have too much smoke inside your house, you need to stop everything and fix your furnace.

Which firewood smells the best?

You should always look for fruit trees if you want to burn something that’ll smell great.

Other than that, you can’t go wrong when you use oak and hickory as they provide that classic smell everyone will recognize comes from a fireplace.

Most hardwood smell great when burnt. Oak is a classic choice, and so is hickory.

Different people have different tastes, so you may prefer other types of hardwood to smell.

That’s the great thing about firewood: you can play and choose and find great things as you do!

For softwoods, you can try cedar and pine. Be warned, though: they are not the best firewood to choose from, but they smell pretty great, all things considered.

What makes good firewood?

There are two things you should consider when choosing firewood: dryness and type.

First, you need to figure out which type of firewood is best for your situation. Then, you need to make sure it’s properly seasoned and dry.

At this point, you can probably tell why hardwood is king. Softwood is a great choice (or, at least, it is for your wallet).

Either way, wood is wood – so you’ll be in good hands as long as it’s dry enough.

That’s right: properly seasoned softwood is better than damp hardwood.

You need your firewood dry enough for it to burn properly.

That’s what truly makes a good piece of firewood, other than how it burns, for how long, and a few other things inherent to the type of firewood you get.

What’s the worst kind of firewood?

Alder, laburnum, and poplar are probably the worst types of firewood you’re going to find on the market.

They burn fast and produce a lot of smoke. They’re not worth the trouble and should only be used when you have no other alternative (or you want to start a lousy fire).

You will usually find plenty of types of firewood with redeeming qualities all around.

Even most types of softwood will provide you some sort of benefit, at least for that price range.

Unfortunately, there’s poor firewood too.

Forget about toxic wood (yes, such a thing exists, we’ll talk about it down below), we’re talking about firewood that you can burn – but it’s simply not worth it to do so.

Laburnum might be the worst offender out of the three.

It’ll burn for little time, produce a lot of smoke, and leave you with plenty of ash for you to clean up.

Avoid them at all costs, even more so if you’re planning to start a fire in your fireplace.

What kind of firewood should I buy?

Choosing the best kind of firewood depends on what you want to do. For a casual campfire, softwood is more than okay.

For a long wood stove fire, hardwood is the go-to choice. For cooking or grilling, hardwood is probably the best as well.

When people learn about the different types of wood, they are quick to dismiss softwood because, on paper, it seems like a lesser option – but it’s very useful when the time is right!

Softwood is perfect for a quick fire or for people who don’t know how to start one. It’s also nice to switch things and try new things (if you’re used to hardwood fires).

I am far from recommending softwood for cooking or storing, though. You should always choose the best option for you, especially when you’re about to buy wood for the winter.

When should I buy firewood?

The best time to buy firewood is right after winter – so you can prepare for the one coming next year.

Other than that, you should stock on firewood as early as possible; otherwise, you may have to face shortages or price spikes when everyone is out to buy wood.

When it comes to wood and fires, you need to plan ahead.

You may not want to plan so far into the future as the people who season wood (who get ready for winter up to two years prior), but you still have to do it at least a few months in advance.

To do it that way, you need to shop around for wood – but you shouldn’t wait until a few hours before you want to start a fire!

You need to buy wood in spring if you want to get the most out of your money.

You’ll hardly ever find any shortages, but it’s always nice to be prepared and have one less thing to worry about.

What wood should you not burn?

You should never burn poisonous wood, treated wood, or wood that comes from endangered species.

Burning the first two is dangerous for you; burning the third one is dangerous for the environment.

When I talk about poisonous wood, I talk about logs that come from trees that may have poisonous flowers like poison ivy.

When you burn such a thing, you will release certain oils into the air that can cause a wide variety of symptoms, from irritation to lung cancer.

Treated wood is wood that has undergone a chemical process and is often used in construction.

Fortunately, treated wood is easy to identify as they usually have tags or stamps on them.

Similar to poison wood, burning treated wood will release nasty chemicals into the air that can cause a lot of damage.

Finally, you shouldn’t burn endangered species for ethical reasons.

You won’t find wood coming from endangered species on sale, but you could end up burning one of these trees if you chop your own wood.

Make sure you check what you’re about to take down with your ax before you do.

What is seasoned firewood?

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been stored for quite some time to make sure it has the right amount of moisture.

When freshly cut, wood has more-or-less 50% moisture content. After seasoning it, it can go below 20% – and that’s what you want.

Is seasoned firewood better than freshly cut wood? Absolutely!

There’s no argument there. Seasoned wood burns better and cleaner and for longer.

Of course, having seasoned firewood implies having seasoning it in the first place – and that won’t happen unless you start planning your fires in advance.

You can also buy seasoned firewood at the store, but there’s something special about cutting your wood, seasoning it yourself, and taking it out after a few months (or even years).

At the same time, carefully picking the kind of firewood you want and then seasoning it for the right amount of time will give you fires that you won’t get by buying wood at the store.

In a way, seasoning firewood allows you to have custom fires that are right for you.

How do I season wood?

Seasoning wood is simple – in fact, time will do most of the work for you.

All you have to do is cut down the logs you want, store them somewhere away from rain and other nasty weather, and wait it out for a while.

The only way seasoning wood can get a little complicated is if you don’t have the space to store the wood.

Then, the entire thing becomes tricky – and probably not worth the trouble.

I am  counting on you having the space to season the wood first and store it somewhere second.

When it comes to seasoning wood, you need a place where your wood won’t get wet or damp or anything similar (because that’s what you don’t want in your wood).

Stack the logs on top of each other, but make sure the last log is not on the ground but on another surface.

After a certain amount of time, you’ll have to put your seasoned wood somewhere else.

Don’t store it inside your house!

Seasoned wood could contain pests that will soon move into anything wooden that you own – unless you keep the logs outside.

How long does wood take to season? It depends on what you’re using.

Softwood takes six months; most hardwood takes between one and two years; Oak takes two years minimum. So, yes, it depends!

How can I tell if firewood is seasoned?

Seasoned firewood is not hard to identify. It’s usually dry, hollow, and darker than its fresh counterpart.

Wood that looks green, has visible bark, or feels damp when you touch it is far from seasoned.

When in doubt, hit two pieces of wood together – if the sound is sharp, you hit two seasoned logs!

Other than that, there’s not much you can do to identify seasoned wood. Don’t worry, though.

You will usually be able to tell right away when you’re looking at it.

Why is that? Because you either seasoned it yourself or bought it from the store!

As time goes on, you will be better at seasoning (or picking) better wood.

It all comes from experience.

You will buy or season poor pieces from time to time, but the more fires you start, the better the wood you’ll choose.

What kind of firewood dries the fastest?

Softwood tends to dry faster than hardwood, but that means you’re going to end up with subpar firewood faster.

You can bet ash, cherry, and maple tend to dry the fastest on their own. In contrast, oak will take a couple of years to be ready.

You can trust softwood to get you out of a fire-related hurry.

Then again, softwood is often subpar when compared to hardwood – and it could burn as fast as it got dry!

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it if you have nothing else.

Now, you should go for ash or maple if you’re planning your winter and cutting it a little close. Ash, for example, needs 6 to 9 months to dry properly.

That’s as short of a window that you’re going to get for hardwood.

If you’re going to dry firewood yourself, you should always try to plan it in advance.

Most people store their wood a year or two before using it.

What’s the quickest way to season firewood?

There are several ways to speed up the seasoning process. Making sure the sun hits the wood is great for this.

Splitting your logs will make everything go smooth. Ensuring there’s proper airflow between your logs is a must.

Other than that, you need to have patience!

As you know, softwood dries faster than hardwood.

So, if you’re in some sort of seasoning rush, you probably want to go down the softwood route.

At the same time, you can start stacking hardwood for next year’s winter. That way, you won’t be in a rush then!

Other than that, you need to maximize sun exposure and airflow while you limit any issues (like rain touching your wood).

Remember that time is the one that seasons your wood, so you’ll have to be patient no matter what.

You’re looking at a six month waiting period at best. After that, it’s time to store it.

How do I store firewood?

The best way to store firewood is to do so indoors but not inside your house.

Seasoned wood may have pests inside of it – and you don’t want to carry that indoors.

A shed is a great place but so is right outside your house, as long as you can put something over the stack of wood.

Keeping seasoned wood inside the house is not an option.

It’s a big nuisance, and it’s also a one way ticket for termites to eat your favorite table. So, what can you do?

Well, you can stack the wood right outside your house.

You go out, grab a couple of logs, feed them to the fire, and close the door.

As long as rain doesn’t touch your wood, you have nothing to worry about.

Because of that, you can stack wood outside under a roof or something that’ll prevent rain from getting inside the wood.

You can cover it with a tarp if rain gets too heavy for your roof to handle.

You can also store your wood in a shed if you don’t feel like having it outside.

Take advantage of storing wood indoors and make sure you keep it away from windows, doors, or any point of entry; that way, pests will never get close to your wood.

Keep it above concrete as well.

How long can I store firewood?

Your average seasoned firewood will last 2 to 4 years in storage. Of course, different factors will hinder or help your firewood’s shelf life.

Under the right conditions, you may be able to store it for longer than four years – but after that, the quality will start to drop.

You’re going to get different results from different experiences. Your wood will not last as long outside as it would inside a storage room or a shed.

At the same time, keeping wood indoors isn’t going to change much if you don’t do it right.

You need proper airflow and enough sun exposure for your wood to stay dry. Otherwise, it’s as good as nothing.

Some people claim wood can be stored indefinitely under perfect circumstances.

Perfect circumstances are far from common, so I wouldn’t suggest trying to store large quantities of firewood indefinitely. You’d be one mistake away from losing most (if not all) of your wood.

So, aim for a two year shelf life. A little more if you’re confident in your storing abilities.

Can firewood be too old to burn?

After four years, you may be looking at firewood that’s close to expiring and wouldn’t do much if you want to start a fire with it.

Sometimes, firewood will take less time to go bad.

So, yes, firewood can be too old to burn.

As I have said before, some people believe you can store firewood forever under the right circumstances.

I prefer to burn wood instead of storing it, so I don’t know for certain!

I highly suspect that’s not the case, though.

Past the four year mark, you’re probably looking at wood that’s a little too old to burn.

You may get a spark out of it, but you’re not going to stay warm for long with five year old firewood.

Does that mean burning old firewood is dangerous?

Not at all! You’re not going to get into trouble for burning old wood.

It may be more trouble than it’s worth to burn it, though.

When firewood gets old, it begins to rot, and burning rotten wood is similar to trying to burn wet wood.

How can I tell if firewood is too old?

Old firewood will start to rot and decay, something that you will notice when you hold it in your hands.

When wood is too old, it’ll start to fall apart – and at that point, it’s probably not the kind of thing you want to use to start a fire.

A dead giveaway of having old firewood is how it feels.

When you hold a piece of firewood that’s too old, it’ll feel similar to wet wood.

It’s going to be a little lighter and it’ll feel damp and soft.

Similar to how you can hit two pieces of seasoned wood to see if they are dry enough.

You can do the same with old firewood. Seasoned wood that’s ready to burn will give a more sharp sound.

Old firewood will emit a more hollow sound.

You can buy a moisture meter to check the moisture yourself and pinpoint whether the wood is too old (or wet) or not.

Then again, with enough experience, you’ll be able to tell on your own.

Can I restore old pieces of firewood?

There’s not much you can do to restore old firewood.

Wood will start to rot past a certain point, and once you’re there, you can’t reverse the process.

Fortunately for all fire lovers, wood takes a long time to go old. You have at least two years before wood starts to get old.

Once firewood starts to go old, you’re racing against time to use it.

Let it stay in storage for a little longer, and it may be too late for you to burn it. Don’t panic! Wood takes a long time to go old.

Not only wood takes a long time to go old, but it also takes a little time to be ready to burn.

Seasoning wood takes from six months to two years.

After that, you have anywhere from two years to four (and sometimes more) to burn it.

The better you store the wood, the longer it’ll last – but past a certain point, it’ll rot. And you can’t restore rotting wood.

You can try to salvage it by removing the rotting parts, but only if rot hasn’t taken over most of the wood.

Can I burn rotten firewood?

You can try to burn rotten firewood, but it’s not going to be a pleasant experience.

Your fire will be lackluster if it happens at all, and, more importantly, you’re going to have a lot of smoke to deal with.

Burning rotten firewood is similar to burning wet wood.

Unless you’re completely desperate and out of wood, burning rotten firewood is not the answer.

You can probably work it out and find a better alternative than doing this in most scenarios.

Yes, finding rotted firewood in your pile is an ugly sight to see – but going through the trouble of trying to burn it all is not going to make you feel any better.

While you can’t do much when it comes to rotted firewood and fires, there’s good news!

You may be able to use it for something else.

That is, as long as you have a backyard where you need fertilizer.

What can I do with rotten firewood?

You can use rotten firewood as mulch or fertilizer.

You can try to burn it anyway, as long as we’re not talking about wood that’s been rotting away for a long time.

It’s better to put old firewood to good use instead of trying to burn it and struggle as you do.

You shouldn’t use old firewood as fertilizer unless it’s locally sourced, though.

Trees can carry pests and diseases – and you can start an outbreak by using foreign wood as fertilizer in your area.

So, feel free to use old wood as long as you know where it comes from.

Ideally, you’d use wood that you have cut yourself to fertilize the greens in your backyard.

It’s close to impossible for something to go wrong that way.

Can firewood be too dry?

While far from a common issue, you can find firewood that is too dry.

Unlike damp wood, you’re not going to have a problem burning it; in fact, it’ll be the other way around – it’ll burn way too fast.

After starting a fair number of fires, you will soon find out that different firewood burns in a different way.

Plenty of factors come into play, there’s no denying that, but the most common and dominant one is dryness.

The perfect piece of wood has somewhere between 10 to 20% moisture content.

Any more than that, let’s say, 30%, and you’re going to have a hard time starting a fire with it.

Any less than that, let’s say, a single digit percentage like 5% – and you find yourself starting a fire with firewood that is too dry and will last too little.

You need a certain amount of moisture inside your wood to regulate the temperature and make sure the fire won’t die early on.

Extremely dry firewood will consume itself extremely fast. It will also create more smoke than usual, making it an uncomfortable experience.

What can I do if my firewood is too dry?

Firewood that’s too dry can still be used in a fire, although it’ll burn at a much faster rate than usual.

You can try to mix this type of firewood with properly seasoned pieces and make the most out of everything you have.

You can also dispose of it if you have a small number of overly dry logs.

There’s not much you can do with pieces of wood that are way too dry for you to handle.

You shouldn’t start a fire with that kind of wood unless you want to be surrounded by clouds of smoke inside your house.

Wetting dry firewood isn’t the right idea either. You can’t increase (the right) moisture levels by soaking your wood.

You’re only going to get wet wood by doing that, and that kind of wood creates more smoke than usual as well – and it’s also a fire hazard of sorts.

The best thing you can do with firewood that’s too dry is to count your losses and move on.

Of course, let’s not forget wood is wood, and it’ll burn no matter what – so you should use extremely dry wood if you need to stay warm during the winter and have nothing else to help.

Is it legal to burn wood where I live?

There’s probably no issue with starting a fire at home using a wood stove, pellet stove, fireplace, or anything similar.

At the same time, laws and regulations vary a lot when it comes to starting fires outside, whether that’s your backyard or out in the wild.

You’ll have no legal trouble by using it as long as your wood stove, fireplace, or any other type of furnace is up to code and follows local regulations.

It’s important to note that I am talking about wood-burning furnaces. In certain places, it’s illegal to burn coal.

You should check local law to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.

When it comes to starting fires outside your house, things are trickier.

Certain places will not allow it no matter what; other places will allow it on a seasonal basis; most places will have no issue whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this information varies on a state-to-state basis and, sometimes, on a city-to-city basis. When in doubt, consult the local authorities.

Can I reuse burnt firewood?

You cannot reuse completely burnt wood. Once you start a fire, a clock starts ticking – and when the time is up, the wood will be gone.

After that, you’ll have nothing but ash and smoke. I’m talking about totally burnt firewood, not partially burnt logs.

It’d be amazing to be able to reuse wood over and over again – especially if you find the perfect type of firewood for you. Unfortunately, that’s not possible.

The act of starting a fire consists of consuming the firewood to create combustion so you can generate heat. That way, you stay warm and cozy at the expense of wood.

So, no, you can’t reuse completely burnt wood. That doesn’t rule out partially burnt wood, which may or may not be a good ally for starting tomorrow’s fire.

What should I do with partially burnt wood?

When it comes to partially burnt wood, there are not a lot of options.

You can feed the used wood into an existing fire or dispose of it and pick unused pieces that will burn better.

Using partially burnt firewood is not a good strategy when it comes to starting a fire, but they do more than an okay job with one that’s already lit.

It’s not hard to use them this way: simply toss them into the fire as you see fit.

You can dispose of partially burn wood if you feel like it’s not worth it to use them in future fires.

There’s no need to burn every piece of wood into ash.

On a somewhat related side note, you can make charcoal by partially burning wood.

It has to be done in a controlled manner following specific steps, but that’s how it’s made.

Then again, most people don’t talk about charcoal as partially burnt wood – but, technically speaking, a lot of people use that kind of wood to grill.

How do I dispose of firewood?

There are a few ways you can dispose of unwanted pieces of firewood, depending on where they come from.

More often than not, you should send it to a landfill or composting facility – but don’t throw it in the trash.

So, you have a couple of pieces of firewood, and you don’t know what to do. I highly recommend burning it – because that’s their purpose.

Other than that, there are a few options left.

For example, you can use it for compost or mulch – but only under certain circumstances.

You should use wood as compost if we’re talking about locally sourced firewood.

Not feeling like making compost? You can take it to a landfill or a composting facility.

Then again, only do so if we’re talking about local wood.

Pieces of wood that come from far away could carry diseases or pests that could harm your trees, garden, and anything alive in your backyard.

Don’t trust your eyes when it comes to inspecting wood – because you won’t spot it on your own.

For firewood that comes from far away or of uncertain origin, I highly recommend burning it.

Any other option may cause trouble, so why risk it?

How do I deal with fire ash?

After you enjoyed your fire, it’s time to do a little clean-up. The best way to deal with ash is to carefully vacuum it, brush the stubborn leftovers, and put it all together in a trash bag.

Make sure you do so using a facemask and gloves to protect yourself!

Before you clean up the ash or tell someone to do so, you should know people with heart or lung conditions shouldn’t deal with ash.

Young children shouldn’t touch or play with ash either.

Once someone is ready to clean the ash, they need to put a facemask and gloves on. No person should make skin contact with ash.

Use a household vacuum to get most of the ash out of the way.

Then, use a push broom to deal with any leftovers. Finally, use a damp cloth to remove stubborn ash from any surfaces.

Put everything in a trash bag and throw it in the regular trash bin. Wash your hands thoroughly, and get ready to start the next fire!

Conclusion

Hardwood is the best type of firewood out there – but there are different kinds of it.

You need to figure out whether you prefer a longer burn over a cleaner one or smell over warmth, among other options.

Other than that, you can choose softwood, which is often cheaper.

You must understand that hardwood is often the best choice – but it may not be the right pick for you.

For example, beginners may have an easier time building a fire out of softwood; getting used to that may create some bad habits, though.

Yes, hardwood will burn the longest and cleanest, but it will also be more expensive. Sometimes, way more expensive than the alternative.

And, sometimes, quality softwood will be better than mediocre hardwood. It’s complicated!

Firewood veterans will probably recognize when a piece of softwood is better than hardwood. Trust what you know in that scenario.

Needless to say, you should go for softwood if you can’t afford to buy the prime choice – because wood will burn and keep you warm no matter the quality or price tag.

Now, hold on! Don’t go running to the store just yet. There are different types of hardwood and softwood for you to choose from.

For hardwood, go for ash, oak, or fruit trees. You can’t go wrong with any of those three options.

Be careful with birch (it may be unevenly dry and cause problems), and avoid it if you don’t know much about wood.

For softwood, try alder, fir, or poplar That’ll get you the best bang for your buck. Avoid things like pine or balsam, as they can be a little messier to handle.

Remember, firewood burns either way. Hardwood is often better than softwood. Softwood is always better than no wood.

Sources:

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/firewood/!ut/p/z1/04_iUlDg4tKPAFJABpSA0fpReYllmemJJZn5eYk5-hH6kVFm8X6Gzu4GFiaGPu6uLoYGjh6Wnt4e5mYGga6G-l76UfgVFGQHKgIAij1yng!!/

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/texas/passes-permits

https://www.epa.gov/burnwise

https://www.blm.gov/programs/natural-resources/forests-and-woodlands/forest-product-permits

http://www.firewood.ca.gov/

https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/state-forests/firewood-collection-for-home-use.html

https://www.nd.gov/ndda/firewood-finder

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/psl_fw_se_permit.pdf

https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/Firewood.aspx

https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/rg/rg-049.pdf

https://www.epa.gov/farr/burn-bans-indian-reservations-id-or-and-wa

https://www.texasagriculture.gov/home/productionagriculture/prescribedburnprogram.aspx

https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/fire-and-life-safety-information/burning-regulations-and-permits

https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/wood-smoke-resources-your-state

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