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How to Reduce Smoke In Your Fire Pit [7 Easy Ways + Smokeless Logs]

Every year, when the weather begins to warm up, we look forward to cooking outside over a fire pit and roasting marshmallows with family and friends. In some cases, cooking over an open fire is necessary for survival. 

Some people despise making fires because of all the smoke they create – while others find that smoky fires are dangerous because they can attract unwanted attention to your homestead.

 If you find yourself avoiding fires because of all the smoke, don’t worry. There are a few easy ways to prevent it. Keep reading to learn which firewood types burn the best – and how to reduce smoke in your fire pit with the proper ventilation. 

How to Reduce Smoke In Your Fire Pit

  1. Only Burn Dry Firewood
  2. Seasoned Firewood Works the Best
  3. Choose Sap-Free Wood
  4. Stack Your Fire Properly
  5. Check Your Wood for Fungus, Gunk, and Mold
  6. Don’t Burn Yard Waste!
  7. Improve Fire Pit Ventilation

To reduce smoke in your fire pit, use the highest-quality fuel possible. Usually, this is in the form of hardwood seasoned for at least six to twelve months. Build up the fire properly to encourage airflow and use smokeless firewood alternatives if you need to avoid smoke entirely. 

Fires do not have to get avoided because they create too much smoke. It’s entirely possible to build a fire that produces minimal smoke. We’ll go into more detail below.

But first – if you want to reduce smoke in your fire pit? You need to know what causes the smoke in the first place. 

lovely fire pit in backyard wooden chairs
Want the real secret to a beautifully warm, pleasant, and aromatic fire without smoke? It all comes down to your firewood seasoning. Aged and seasoned cordwood burn the best. If your firewood’s humidity is less than 15 or 20%, we bet you’ll enjoy a beautiful, low-smoke flame. But if you chuck wet leaves and logs into your burn barrel? Expect heaps of smoke.

Why Does the Wood In My Fire Pit Smoke So Much?

After all the effort of collecting and cutting the wood, it’s a total bummer when the fire you’ve built turns out to be a smokey mess. A warm and toasty fire is harder to enjoy if too much smoke gets into your eyes and burns your lungs. 

So why does the wood in your pit smoke so much? 

There are various reasons why wood creates surplus smoke instead of burning. 

1. The Wood is Too Wet

Here’s your top culprit for a smokey fire! If the logs you have chosen to burn are too wet, they will create a lot of smoke. Recent rainfall can soak firewood logs that you keep outdoors. High humidity levels can also make the wood feel wet.

2. The Wood is Too Green

Wood that burns well has copious time to dry out and cure. On the other hand, fresh or green wood does not burn well. Think of the water in your cordwood as wasted energy. The flame should rip through dry logs.

3. There’s Sap In the Wood

Sometimes, the sap contained within wood can make your fire pitch smoke. In addition, too much pitch, which is the more crystallized version of tree sap, can also make your fire smokey. 

4. Improper Stacking

Oxygen feeds your fire as much as dry wood. Building a fire so that it burns nicely is a skill. Crafting the correct wood structure that burns instead of smokes takes time. If you improperly stack the wood in your fire pit, you may suffer smoldering and smoking logs instead of a healthy burning fire. 

5. There’s Something Else on the Wood

Does the wood have moss, fungus, or mold? Wood that sits outside all the time can sometimes develop moss, fungus, or mold. When burned, these substances create a lot of smoke. Plus, the smoke can be questionable for your lungs. 

iron fire pit and stacked cordwood
Burning wet logs is the kiss of death if you want to enjoy a smokeless firepit. That’s the biggest secret! Another secret to burning a piping fire with less smoke and pollution – is to ensure your fire has plenty of oxygen. Assemble your logs and kindling so that they encourage airflow. Oxygen feeds the flame of your campfire and will help ensure total combustion. More air? More flames. And less smoke!

Read More – Get Our Free Homesteading Resources! Sour Dough Recipe, Apple Tree Guilds, and More!

What to Burn In a Fire Pit Without Smoke?

Turning on a 10-hour YouTube video of a crackling fireplace may help you enjoy a fire without the hassle of smoke, but it won’t give you any warmth or natural ambiance. So if you want to heat your space and relish the beauty of clean flames, smokeless logs may be what you need.

Smokeless Logs

Smokeless logs are a firewood alternative that allows you to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fire without the hazard and hassle of a lot of smoke. Typically, smokeless logs get made of sawdust, beech, oak, or pine woods.

Smokeless logs are extremely easy to light. Nowadays, manufacturers of smokeless logs design them to burn hot, cleanly, and for upwards of three hours.

Plus, there is hardly any mess to clean up when finished. You don’t have to worry about sneaky coals secretly continuing to burn for hours on end. 

Smokeless logs are not your only option for fuel that burns without smoke. Examples of other smokeless fuels are the following.

Of course, many of these are designed primarily for indoor use, so they might not always fit the bill for an outdoor fire pit.

beautiful fire pit backyard campfire
If you want a smokeless fire, then the wood you burn matters. We always recommend seasoned and dried hardwoods. Maple, ash, and oak are among the best cordwoods for less smoke. Seasoned oak is one of the best for warm and relaxing fires with fewer sparks. And less smoke!

How to Burn Wood Without Smoke

Smokeless logs are not the only way to reduce smoke in your fire pit. You can also burn natural wood that has been purposely manufactured for fire pits so that it burns with minimal smoke output. 

Choose Seasoned Wood

Burning a perfectly smoke-free fire with natural wood may not be entirely possible. But with the correct wood, you can have an enjoyable fire in your pit with minimal smoke. Generally speaking, when it comes to the best wood for fire pits, you have to choose between naturally air-dried seasoned wood or kiln-dried firewood. 

Seasoned firewood is wood that got naturally dried for upwards of 18 months. At the end of the drying process, the color of the wood should be duller, the wood should begin to crack at the edges, and the moisture level will be much lower. 

Kiln-dried firewood is, by far, the best wood for fire pits, but it can be expensive. And if you cut your firewood, there’s a good chance you don’t have access to a kiln.

Kiln-drying firewood is a process where the wood gets dried for upwards of six days between 120 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterward, the wood’s moisture content is well below 20%, making it ideal for burning. 

This kind of firewood weighs less than traditionally seasoned firewood. The kiln-drying process also kills residual pesticides, mold, and invasive pests that may be inside the wood. 

Whatever you choose, ensure the firewood has been seasoned and dried in some way. Avoid burning green (wet) firewood at all costs! It will generate the most smoke.

Read More – 10 Ways to Cut Firewood Without a Saw!

Type of Firewood

Whether you kiln dry or air dry the firewood, there are many options regarding the best type of wood for fire pits. Hardwood is always the best option since softwood species (like pine and conifers) produce more creosote and smoke.

  • Ash – produces a lot of heat and lasts a long time.
  • Cherry – lights quickly and creates a fantastic ambiance.
  • Beech – burns hot and has a pleasant smell.
  • Maple – burns for hours and can add nice flavor if used for cooking.
  • Pine – splits easily, burns fast, and crackles nicely. 
  • Oak – easy to find and smells nice.

There are also many types of wood to avoid when building a fire.

  • Driftwood – driftwood from oceans and rivers is typically too moist to burn properly and can release toxins. 
  • Construction lumber – lumber utilized for construction has been treated with unsafe chemicals to burn.
  • Green wood – again, freshly cut wood will be too wet to burn and needs time to dry out to burn correctly. 
campsite burning fire pit with mild smoke and tea cups
One more vital tip about stacking your firewood! Remember that firewood is hygroscopic. That means it acts like a sponge if it encounters water – the logs suck up the moisture! So – stack your firewood off the ground – and cover it with a tarp! Otherwise, it will absorb water. And wet logs burn a tremendous amount of energy. Only burn dry logs! Your fires will burn more efficiently – with less smoke.

How Do I Stop My Fire Pit from Smoking?

Don’t settle for a smoking fire pit. There’s plenty you can do to fix the problem at the moment so you can better prepare yourself for next time.  

Avoid Using Softwoods

If you want to reduce smoke in your fire pit? Then ditch the softwoods! Wood types like hemlock, cedar, fir, and spruce may be highly accessible in your area, but they are not the best wood to burn. Typically, softwoods like these contain more sap than other types, which can lead to excessive smoke. 

Don’t Burn Yard Waste! Do This Instead.

It’s tempting to want to burn debris from your yardwork like leaves, grass clippings, pruned branches, and pinecones. However, these items produce much more smoke than properly dried firewood. Instead – save those items for garden compost. Your garden (and abundant harvest) will thank you later.

Let the Fire Burn Slowly

Your fire may be smoking because it’s not getting the oxygen it requires to burn correctly. Better airflow and oxygen translate to more combustion and fire. And less smoke. 

Fire Pit Ventilation Ideas

Ventilation is vital for a healthy fire. If your fire can not get the airflow it needs, it will not adequately burn. But it will create a lot of smoke. Check out the following fire pit ventilation ideas that will help your fire burn proudly.

  • If using a chiminea, position the opening of the chiminea away from the wind.
  • Leave space beneath the fire structure to allow airflow to center from the bottom.
  • Stack logs so that they can share heat but still breathe.
  • During the early stages of building your fire, blow on the firewood kindling to help create flames.
  • Stack your logs in a square-shaped log cabin style to increase airflow at all levels of the structure. 
  • Construct a tee-pee-shaped fire surrounding a smaller pile of kindling and tinder to enhance ventilation. 

Read More – 14+ Best Cinder Block Fire-Pit Ideas!

Best Smokeless Firewood for Reducing Smoke in Your Fire Pit

It’s the best time of the year to relax outside by the fire, soak in the ambiance, and unwind!

So we penned this list of the best firewood and kindling starters for smokeless fire.

They’re easy to light, low on smoke, and they help kickstart the party quickly.

We hope you enjoy them!

  1. 120 Eco-Stix Fatwood Fire Starter Kindling Firewood Sticks | EasyGoProducts
  2. 120 Eco-Stix Fatwood Fire Starter Kindling Firewood Sticks | EasyGoProducts
    $24.99

    Want to reduce smoke in your fire pit and get it roaring quickly? Then we love these Ocoee Pine fire starters! These eco-stix kindling logs are 100% organic. They're perfect for igniting your fireplace, fire pit, campfire, bonfires, and wood stoves. The fatwood kindling comes from pine trees and is 100% natural. Choose from kindling boxes from 10 pounds to 50 pounds.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/08/2022 06:03 pm GMT
  3. Fatwood Fire Starter Sticks | Easy & Safe Fire Starter | Billy Buckskin Co.
  4. Fatwood Fire Starter Sticks | Easy & Safe Fire Starter | Billy Buckskin Co.
    $32.50

    We love fatwood kindling for reducing smoke in fire pits. It only takes two or three sticks to ignite your backyard fire, campfire, BBQ grill, indoor fireplace, or wood stove. The high resin content makes these kindling sticks perfect for unideal burning situations. Even if you're burning in the middle of winter or with a snowy campfire? Give these fire starters a try.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/08/2022 09:38 am GMT
  5. Two Hour Fire Log | 6 Count | Pine Mountain
  6. Two Hour Fire Log | 6 Count | Pine Mountain
    $30.27 $26.10

    Pine mountain logs burn cleanly and help reduce smoke in your fire pit. Each log burns for around two hours. They're perfect for outdoor and indoor applications, fire pits, fireplaces, and campfires. The logs are nutshells, molasses, and recycled hardwood. It burns cleaner than most cordwood - and emits 80% less carbon and 75% fewer particles.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/09/2022 04:58 am GMT
  7. Fire Starter - Pack of 160 Charcoal Fire Starters | Melt Candle Company
  8. Fire Starter - Pack of 160 Charcoal Fire Starters | Melt Candle Company
    $29.99 $19.99

    These chimney starter cubes get your fire pit going without fuss. They burn for around ten minutes and rock your fire pit or fireplace year-round. Your fire starters come in squares or tumbleweed - and come 160 per box. The fire squares break by hand without much force. They're part sawdust and wax - so they ignite quickly and help your fire get hot quick.

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    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/09/2022 03:23 am GMT
  9. Eco Firestarters for Campfire Fireplace Charcoal BBQ Grill Wood Pellet | Friendly Flame Eco
  10. Eco Firestarters for Campfire Fireplace Charcoal BBQ Grill Wood Pellet | Friendly Flame Eco

    These are our favorite firestarters! They're great for fireplaces, charcoal grills, pellet stoves, pizza ovens, and fire pits. They are 100% natural mixed pine, spruce, and fir. The aroma is enjoyable. Each box contains 35 fire starter pieces. And they don't have wax or petroleum.

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  11. XXL Size Сharcoal Fire Starters | Fire Starter
  12. XXL Size Сharcoal Fire Starters | Fire Starter
    $29.99 $25.09

    If you want to reduce smoke in your fire pit? The first step is a roaring fire. And fast! These fire starters will help ignite your BBQ grill, bonfire, or late-night fire pit. Each box contains 60 rolls of wood. They're 100% natural and work for indoor or outdoor fires. They're also perfect for grilling, fire pits, and backyard campfires.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/09/2022 07:52 am GMT

Conclusion

Remember, every fire will produce some amount of smoke. It’s nearly impossible to create a 100% smoke-free fire. But by enlisting some of the tips and techniques from above? You can build a beautiful fire that burns cleanly and does not burn your eyes with too much smoke. 

When it comes to a happy fire, it’s all about the holy trinity! Fuel, oxygen, and heat. Pick the best wood possible. Take your time building a fire. Ensure it has proper ventilation and access to oxygen – and keep the fire hot so you can enjoy it for hours. 

These are the best tips for anyone who needs to reduce smoke in your fire pit.

These simple backyard campfire rules help you enjoy a dry, relaxing fire.

Without smoke!

If you have more questions about campfires, fire pits, barbeques, or reducing the smoke – let us know!

We’re always burning, smoking, and grilling – and we love outdoor campfires!

Feel free to ask us anything you need.

Thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

Author

  • Rebekah Pierce

    Rebekah Pierce started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, near her native Adirondack Mountains. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in special education, she has been writing professionally since 2017, but only recently left the world of teaching to pursue writing and farming full time. She now writes full-time in the education, business, finance, and of course, homesteading and farming niches.

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