What to Burn in a Fire Pit (9 Best Woods)

An outdoor fire pit is a need for your own haven. You should think carefully about the kinds of materials you want to burn in your fire pit before adding one to your backyard because it can bring a lot of entertaining opportunities.

What are the ideal substances to burn in a fire pit, then?

In this article you we will give you some ideas on what to burn in a fire pit to maximize fire pit performance and prevent any harm for you and your fire pit. If you are interested to know, stay in this article. Let’s start!

Woods to burn in a fire pit

What to Burn in a Fire Pit


Pinion wood is a hard, slow-growing pine that grows in the mountains of the southwest of the United States. The smokey pine scent of pion wood makes it a natural mosquito deterrent.


The alder tree is a deciduous hardwood that is frequently found on North America’s west coast. Charcoal of high quality is frequently produced from alder. Alder should be properly seasoned before burning, and it should never be burned when damp. Wet alder emits a lot of smoke and produces a lot of ash. Seasoned alder firewood burns quickly yet produces a high flame and good coals.


Softwood with a high content of natural resin is cedar. Resin-rich wood burns fiercely and can occasionally explode into sparks or burning wood chunks due to resin’s strong flammability. For a brief length of time, cedar will produce intense flames that soon go out and have no coaling potential.

Continuous heat is not produced by cedar. If you think about using cedar, blend it in modest amounts with hardwoods to create a continuous burn that produces a lot of heat.


Oak is a thick hardwood that emits more heat per firebox load and has a higher energy content per cord. Additionally, it will result in coal beds and long-lasting fires. Oak trees can be found in parts of Asia and North America and do well in both temperate and tropical climates.


Hickory is one of the woods that is most frequently suggested for fire pits. Compared to most other hardwoods, including oak, it burns hotter. One of the strongest native American woods is this one.


Mesquite wood burns thoroughly and produces few sparks. It produces hot coals that last for a long time. Southwest regions of the United States and parts of northern Mexico are the main growing regions for mesquite trees.


The southern states of Illinois, Indiana, and a large portion of the South between Kentucky and Texas are home to pecan wood. Although pecan wood doesn’t produce as much heat as some other types of wood, when it is burned, it gives off a nice aroma of pecan nuts and vanilla.

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood emits a modest amount of heat but, like some of the other woods on our list, is also prone to sparking. When burned, it emits a lovely scent.

Apple Wood

Apple wood is the most difficult type of wood to ignite and maintain a flame. If you are successful, it burns slowly and for a considerable amount of time. A delicious, smoky aroma will also be a nice reward for your efforts.

The traditional go-to, wood, will always be the greatest material to burn in your fire pit. And which wood you use will depend on your current demands. Mosquitoes will be repelled by pinning wood. Burning apple, cherry, and pecan woods releases a delightful aroma. Whereas mesquite, hickory, and oak burn well and provide a lot of heat. You can also use charcoal if you’re cooking over a fire pit.

What Not to Burn in a Fire Pit

There are some fuels that you shouldn’t try to burn in the fire pit, even though wood is the finest fuel for one. While some of these fuels could pose a health risk, others could harm the fire pit. Are you curious about what shouldn’t be burned in your fire pit? To find out, keep reading.

Anyone who has a wood-burning fire pit is familiar with how soothing it is to unwind at the end of the day beside a warm campfire.

Although you likely already know that firewood that has been specifically cut for burning is the safest material to burn in your fire pit, we’ve had clients test out novel approaches to starting fires or using fuel in the past. You should definitely refrain from burning some hazardous materials in a fire pit (or any kind of fire, for that matter).

We’ve already written about broad fire safety advice, but in this article we’d like to concentrate on less evident risks that are present in some fire fuels.

It is particularly difficult to detect hidden chemicals emitted during burning. You could be exposing yourself and your family to gases that, over time, may cause cancer or other ailments, even if you don’t notice a difference in the color or smell of the smoke. Additionally, some chemicals could be left behind as residues in the ash, making them hazardous to handle.

Avoid igniting these harmful substances in your fire pit:

Wood treated

To prevent rotting in moist environments, lumber used for outdoor construction is frequently pressure treated or chemically preserved. Burning can emit compounds that are harmful to breathe in. (Older lumber, for instance, could potentially have arsenic in it.)

Wood that has undergone pressure treatment may be labeled as such and may have a greenish hue. Don’t rely on that marking alone, though, as this hue may disappear over time.

Don’t burn the following kinds of wood:

  • Train ties
  • Deck wood
  • Colored or stained wood

The majority of shipping pallets (how to tell which pallets have been treated)

Old or discarded wood

Driftwood (though not treated in a traditional sense, driftwood may release carcinogenic salt compounds)

On the other hand, untreated plywood is just fine. So feel free to burn any leftover materials from a DIY project. Do not risk it, though, if you are unsure about the wood’s treatment or if it has simply been sitting in the shed for a decade.


Burning rubber, used paper, plastic, trash bags, or other rubbish is not permitted. Some objects often have an unpleasant fragrance in addition to releasing toxins or pollutants into the air.

Hopefully you have the good judgment to avoid throwing explosives like batteries and spray cans directly into the flames. However, if you have a bad habit of burning garbage bags, these objects might be concealed inside and cause harm.

Cardboard and paper

It’s entertaining to watch a pizza box catch fire, we know, we know. However, burning cardboard and paper can produce large ash particles that swiftly move toward neighboring trees, vegetation, and homes.

Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, or Poison Ivy

When taking wood from someone’s property, exercise extreme caution because it may be covered in poison ivy vines. (These can be more difficult to see in the winter because their leaves have fallen off, but the deadly oils are still present.)

You are aware of the potential consequences of exposing your skin to these oils. Imagine breathing it in right now. I’ll stop here.

Flammable Liquid Or Gasoline

We are aware of the allure of using an accelerant to play with fire and start a stunning flame. However, a fire of this nature has the potential to spread rapidly and cause both property damage and human injury. Don’t do it, please!

Other things to avoid

There are a few more things that, while not specifically harmful to burn, can nevertheless be problematic. These consist of:

  • Food remnants
  • Grass cuttings (which can trigger allergies)
  • Soft or green woods (which produce a lot of smoke and sparks)

How Much Fuel or Wood Is Necessary for a Durable Flame?

The 12 inch rule, which states that every 12 inches of wood will burn for an hour, is a typical rule of thumb to use when determining how long your wood will burn in a wood fire pit. For instance, a piece of wood 12 inches long will burn for 12 hours. It’s preferable to keep adding tinder and kindling until a steady, reliable flame is produced.

In terms of gas fire pits, it is not simply a matter of how much fuel is utilized, but also what setting you keep the flame at. A 20lb propane tank has a moderate setting life of 8–9 hours and a maximum setting life of 3–4 hours.


What you desire from a trendy outdoor fireplace and your personal preferences will determine the solution. Burning mesquite, apple, orange, pear, and pecan are good options if you desire clean burns without smoke or unpleasant odor. On the other hand, if, like some people, you want a more intense fire that produces lots of heat and gives out strong odors, choose to burn things like cedar, oak, or maple.

In addition, the technique and the type of fire pit you use are important factors in extending the life of your fire pit. To ensure you can enjoy a long-lasting, cozy atmosphere from your fire pit, make sure you’re taking all elements into consideration, including the sort of wood or fuel utilized, the weather conditions, the upkeep of the fire pit, and so on.

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