Best Wood to Burn in a Fire Pit guide 2022

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We’ll discuss the best wood urn for a fire pit in this article. Although there are a number of secure wood substitutes you may use in your fire pit, not all of them will burn uniformly. Before selecting a type of wood, take into account the purpose of the fire: Or are you really cooking something over an open flame, just for show?

The type of wood you purchase will depend on the answers to these questions. Along with that, they’ll tell you what kind of firewood you shouldn’t use.

If the right firewood is utilised, both the person maintaining the fire and those gathered around it will have a more enjoyable time. Choose a straightforward wood that will burn as cleanly as possible.

This is frequently caused by the wood’s density and moisture content. Consider the difference in moisture content between seasoned and kiln-dried wood.

Compared to softwoods, hardwoods are frequently denser and dry faster. This means that they will provide a low-maintenance, reliable fire that will burn for hours whether you’re camping or in your garden.

Density is lower in softwood. Although it is simple to light and usually less expensive, it burns quickly, requiring more regular upkeep and the purchase of additional wood.

What Woods Burn the Best in Your Fire Pit?

Bradley Hite, owner of Firewood Nashville, and other experts suggest burning these hardwoods in your fire pit since they are simple to light, emit little smoke, and are affordable.


Walnut is a different type of wood that is frequently found in Southern California. Walnut is a wood that burns slowly and cleanly, making it perfect for outdoor fires and fire pits at gatherings. Another benefit for party hosts is that once the fire is going, you won’t have to stop your evening to add more wood to it.


Avocado burns more quickly than the hardwoods mentioned earlier and accumulates more creosote in flames. As a result, you will require more wood and will need to replenish it more frequently in the evening.

It works well in fire pits and should be avoided in fire features with chimneys since it increases creosote accumulation.

Avocado firewood is included on this list for two reasons: first, it’s great for stoking fires (add some oak for longer burn times), and second, it’s easy to come by for people who own or live close to avocado orchards, which are common in Southern and Central California.


This is one of the best options for a reliable, long-lasting fire. Ash is both easy to obtain and reasonably priced. For those chilly winter evenings, it takes a little longer to ignite but emits a lot of heat once it does.


Beech is the finest choice if you want a cosy fire. It is dense, burns fiercely, and smells nice when properly seasoned.


If you want to set the mood without stoking the fire for hours before your guests arrive, Hite suggests cherry. He asserts that it will start burning quickly, letting you enjoy the fire rather than building it.

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Bigleaf Maple

Despite being a hardwood, Bigleaf Maple has fewer BTUs than Pacific Madrone or oak. It consequently doesn’t generate as much heat. This is crucial for individuals who wish to use their patio fireplace or fire pit as a heat source, but it is less crucial for those who simply want a welcoming fire feature for social gatherings or romantic wine-drinking by the fire.

Bigleaf Generally speaking, maple firewood is less expensive than madrone or oak. Although a maple log won’t burn as long as an oak log, it will be simpler to fire, and maple will still last longer than softwoods. It also burns more quickly. Additionally, it seasons faster than oak firewood.


This common wood is available all over the country and burns slowly and cleanly without releasing a lot of smoke. Although it is easy to split, drying it out properly could take years.

White Oak is a kind of tree (aka Oregon White Oak)

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding this fuel because Southern California is home to many white oak trees. This one may be less appealing than the black oak and other oak options mentioned above since it produces more ash, but it burns hot and long, making it a reliable addition to any list of the best wood to use in fireplaces and fire pits.

Live Oak on the Coast

If you lose a Coast Live Oak on your property, you might want to rent a log splitter or engage a local tree trimmer to break it for you because it is difficult to split. On the other hand, once you’ve cut it to size, you’ll have low-smoke, long-burning firewood. You should make sure the fire is completely put out before going to bed since oak firewood can smoulder for hours.

Valley Oak is a tree that grows in the valley (aka California White Oak)

Valley Oak is a different native hardwood to California that makes excellent firewood for patio and fire pits. Like other oaks, this one can take two years to season. Once dried and ready for use, Valley Oak firewood burns slowly and for a long time. Oak firewood is more expensive than softer woods, but you’ll use less of it overall and save money.


If you’re looking for a cheap wood that will create the right ambiance, pine is a good choice. It readily splits and crackles when burned, giving atmosphere. However, because pine burns so quickly, experts advise using wood as kindling rather than fire logs.


It is much harder to find almond wood than other forms of firewood, such oak. However, if you live in an area with almond trees, you might be able to obtain this wonderful option. This is another hardwood that will be more expensive than some of your other options, but it will season more quickly than oak and give you logs that will burn for longer periods of time with less cleanup.

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Madrone in the Pacific

Compared to other hardwoods, this wood burns fiercely and slowly and leaves behind less ash. Madrone firewood is harder to work with and more expensive than softer woods, but it burns hotter and for longer. Like oak, madrone will leave behind embers that are still warm the following morning.

Due to this, it is a well-liked substitute for people who utilise firewood as a source of heat in colder climates. However, this means making sure your fire is completely out at the end of the night for those of us in Southern California who use it in fire pits.

This one will be more difficult to split as it dries out, so split it while it’s still green.

While oak firewood may take up to two years to completely dry, madrone typically takes only one year to properly season and become suitable for use.

Things to Consider About When Choosing Fire Pit Wood

There will be limitless possibilities, but you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to make a hasty decision. Here are some crucial things to take into account in order to assist you restrict the selection.

Softwood Or Hardwood?

The kind of wood you want to utilise is the first thing you need to decide. More often, hardwoods are used. They are renowned for having a longer and hotter burn time. This will come in helpful when you need a fire to stay warm on chilly nights. On the other hand, softwoods burn more quickly and are less expensive. They have a pleasant scent and are also simpler to divide.

Whether seasoned or not?

There is no denying that seasoned wood is the greatest fuel to use in a fire pit. Compared to unseasoned wood, it burns longer and lights more quickly. The interior of seasoned wood is white and the exterior is dark. It is really cracked. On the other hand, unseasoned wood appears to be extremely new and is moist.

What Woods Should You Avoid Burning in Your Fire Pit?

Not all types of wood may be burned safely in a fire pit. Often, the wood you find at a campground or close to your home won’t burn properly and might even be dangerous to your health.

Wood that is green in color (freshly cut)

Any wood that has recently been cut and hasn’t had a chance to season or dry is referred to by this phrase. This makes it very difficult to start a flame and keep it burning steadily. The best burning wood can be produced by stacking and covering young wood because different wood species dry at varying rates.


In your fire pit, avoid using wood that has washed up on the shore. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that damp wood, especially that that has been in contact with water, does not burn efficiently and may release potentially dangerous chemicals (EPA).

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Wood for Building

The majority of the wood used to build houses has undergone chemical treatment, making it unsuitable for use in a fire pit. Additional risks could be posed by the presence of screws, nails, glue, and other finishes.

Questions and Answers:

Which kind of wood is forbidden from being used in a fire pit?

Never burn “wet, rotting, sick, or mouldy wood” in a fireplace or fire pit, advises the EPA. Softwoods like cedar and pine are frequently avoided because of how quickly they burn and how much smoke they emit.

What kind of wood is best to use in a fire pit?

The best fuel choices are hardwoods like oak, hickory, ash, and maple, however they burn more slowly. Although they burn more quickly and emit more smoke than hardwoods, softwoods like pine, fir, and cedar can also be used as fuel. Utilize them more as a fire starter if you can.

Is there any use for burned wood ash?

You can use the ashes in a variety of ways, from polishing silverware to sprinkling them on snow and ice to prevent potentially fatal falls. Slugs and snails can be repelled by them, and they can even be used to make lye for soap. However, soil amendment is by far the most typical and traditional usage for wood ashes.

Which stones are inappropriate for a fire pit?

Because of their porous structure and propensity to retain water, some of the most popular rocks that shouldn’t be used in the construction of fire pits include sandstone, limestone, pumice, gravel, and river rocks.
My fire pit exploded, why?

Materials that are frequently used in DIY fire pits, such as concrete blocks, pea gravel, river rocks, and others, can trap water inside. They have the potential to explode when heated. Here is an illustration of what can happen when pressure inside construction materials caused by a small amount of excess water.

Can I use lava rocks in a fire pit for wood burning?

Place a layer of lava rock at least 4-5 inches deep if burning wood. Put your firewood on the lava rock after that. Fill the fire pit with enough lava rock to at least cover the fire ring if you want to use gas flames. Never substitute any form of rock or gravel for lava rock since they may blow up when heated.

Final Conclusion:

The ideal wood for a fire pit has been discussed in this article. The most spectacular wood for fireplaces is hardwood, like oak. In comparison to other types of wood, hardwoods burn for longer lengths of time and emit less smoke and residue.

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