When you are burning wood, it goes through a heating process which consists of 3 phases.
The first phase is where the wood is heated and turns into charcoal, which has volatile gases and liquids. The second phase involves the flames burning off the volatile gases and liquids. The final phase is when the charcoal is burning and the embers are glowing. Then heat is radiated from the coals.
When starting a fire, you must consider the type of wood you want to use, how well it will burn, and how long it will burn. The absolute best trees for firewood are trees that are dead but still standing and the bark is naturally peeling off. These trees will burn the best because they are dry and seasoned. In order to cut the tree or branches down, you will need to visit BestPoleSaw.com and find the type of saw that works best for your situation. My personal preference is the Husqvarna Gas Pole Saw with the telescoping neck.
Seasoned wood is wood that has been drying for over a year and is not wet, wet wood is very hard to ignite.
If you are not cutting your own tree and just purchasing a load of pre-cut wood, there are a lot of things to look for when choosing the better wood, such as:
- banging two pieces of wood together and listen for a hollow sound, if the sound is dull or solid, the wood is wet
- wet wood weighs more than dry wood
- split a piece of wood, if it is white or grey, it is dry
- if you burn a piece and it ignites fast and easily, it is dry. If it is hard to light, it is wet
Specific Trees that are Good for Making a Fire
Hardwoods such as maple, oak, eucalyptus, and walnut, to name few, will burn longer than softwoods or conifers like red cedar, fir, birch, spruce, and pine. Softwoods or conifers do burn but they tend to burn fast causing the user to have to constantly add more wood to the fire. Fir is actually a great fire starter because it is a dry softwood that can be used for kindling. Some people start their fires with some fir and then switch to a hardwood once the fire is going.