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Which type of firewood should you use? | The Best Types of Wood to Burn For a Campfire

Oct 9

Which type of firewood should you use?

A PILE OF firewood delivered to a campsite
A pile of firewood delivered to South Mountain Family Camp by Casar Tree Service and Firewood

You can find hot chocolate and cozy snuggles by the fire at types Gas fireplaces are becoming more popular in newer homes. Gas fireplaces are cheaper to construct, more easy to install, and often more convenient. It's as easy as flipping a switch.

For those of us who prefer the old-fashioned way, a wood-burning stove is best. It is hard to match the smoky aroma, crackling sound and tactile ritual of firebuilding.

When building a woodfire, which type of firewood should I use? There are many wood species that have different burning characteristics. Here is a brief overview of some of the most sought-after and readily available firewood types.

Hardwoods For Firewood


The United States is home to oak, which is a popular species for making firewood. It can be dried properly and produce a slow-burning, hot fire. It must be seasoned. This means it should be dried in a dry place for at least one year and preferably two. Oak is a hard hardwood to light, but once it starts burning, you will be rewarded.

Hard Maple

Hard maple is readily available in the north US and Canada. It is dense and heavy which makes it burn slower than other hardwoods such as oak and hickory.


Birch is attractive and emits a lot heat. However, it can also burn very quickly. Birch is cheaper and easier than other species, but you will burn it much faster. You can mix it into your firewood supply or use it in combination with other species.

Softwoods for Firewood


a hatchet in dried firewoodPine is readily available in northern climates and can be grown for a long time. It's also more sustainable than hardwood varieties. It does not produce as much heat as hardwoods and burns quickly. Burning pine can also cause sparking and exploding sap pockets, which can lead to creosote buildup in your chimney. People like to start a fire with a softwood such as pine before switching to hardwoods when the fire is sufficiently hot.


Douglas Fir is the most popular conifer for wood firewood. It has a moderate heating value and produces little ash. Older trees can be split easily and are also easy to start. Fir can spark a little bit.

Key Considerations

No matter what kind of firewood you use, ensure that your wood is stored in an area that is well ventilated and protected from the elements. Only bring in as much firewood that you intend to use in your fire. Indoor temperatures can encourage bugs to take up residence in the wood.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Wood that has been properly seasoned will most likely burn well. Even the finest firewood won't burn well if it isn't seasoned. Wood with a high moisture content will burn more energy than heat by evaporating the water and not burning it.
  • Although "seasoned" wood is often sold by dealers, if the wood has been split this year it will likely not be dry enough. Experts recommend buying wood this year in order to burn it next year.
  • Wood that has been properly seasoned will look grayish on the outside, and it will weigh less than new wood of the same species. It should be white inside if you cut it in half.

forest at south mountain family camp in casar, ncFinding a good firewood supplier will definitely help. A quality firewood supplier will never sell you "green" wood, which has not been dried out and will be difficult to burn. They will have already dried the wood for 5-6 months before selling it. If you are in the North Carolina area, where we are from, we like to use Casar Tree Service and Firewood for all of our firewood to heat our home. John, the owner, is very professional and knows what he is doing when it comes to firewood delivery. Plus, he is available 24/7! So if you run out of wood in the middle of the night, John to the rescue! His contact info is below if you are camping in the South Mountain area of Casar or even in the hickory or Morganton, NC area. We hope this article helps you have a little but more knowledge so you know the right questions to ask when ordering your load of firewood. 

Here is John's contact information:

Casar Tree Service and Firewood
142 Mace Rd. 
Casar, NC

Check out their new youtube video advertisement for firewood in Casar, NC.