What Can You Burn in a Fire Pit? A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to backyard fun, few things are as enjoyable as gathering around a fire pit with friends and family. But what can you burn in a fire pit? This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know!

A great idea to make the most of your backyard is to install a fire pit. It’s a simple addition that may bring a lot of excitement, but you should consider what you’ll burn in it first.

A fire pit can be used to burn various types of wood. When picking the correct kind of wood for you, you should consider the distinctive features of each type of wood. Continue reading to learn about the many types of wood used in a fire pit.

What Can You Burn in Your Fire Pit?

Many types of wood can be burned in your fire pit. Some of these woods will keep the mosquitoes away, while others produce a pleasant smell. Some woods burn well and generate a lot of heat. If you want to cook over your fire pit, you can also use charcoal.

  • Pinion wood:

This type of wood grows slowly in the mountains of the southwest United States. Pinion wood is a natural mosquito repellent and has a smoky pine fragrance.

  • Alder:

Alder is a hardwood tree found along the west coast of North America. Alder is known for its high-quality charcoal. Make sure that the alder is dry before you try to burn it. If it is wet, it will smoke a lot and leave a lot of ash. Dry alder firewood burns quickly, but it will create a hot fire with good coals.

  • Cedar:

Cedar is softwood with a high natural resin content. Resin is a form of fuel that causes wood to burn extremely hot and occasionally explode. Cedar will produce intense flames for a short time and then soon die out. It doesn’t produce a lot of coals.

Cedar does not produce heat continuously. If you want to use cedar in a mix with hardwoods, it will give you a continuous burn while providing lots of heat.

  • Oak:

Oak is a hardwood that is dense and will produce more heat than other types of wood. It also lasts longer in fires and produces coals that stay hot for long. Oak trees grow well in warm climates, like Asia and North America.

  • Hickory:

Hickory is a good choice for a fire pit because it burns very hot. It also lasts longer than other types of wood. It is one of the strongest woods found in the United States.

  • Mesquite:

Mesquite firewood is a clean-burning wood that doesn’t produce many sparks. It creates a hot fire that lasts for a while. Mesquite trees grow mostly in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

  • Pecan:

Pecan wood is common in southern Illinois and Indiana. It doesn’t create as much heat as some other woods, but it does have a pleasant pecan nut and vanilla scent when burned.

  • Cherry Wood:

Cherry wood is a moderate heat source that tends to spark like other woods on this list. It also smells pleasant when burned.

  • Apple Wood:

Applewood is harder to light and keep burning than any other type of wood. However, if you are successful, it will burn slowly and for a good amount of time. You’ll be rewarded with a sweet, smokey smell as well.

Burning Wood Pellets in a Fire Pit Is a Greener Option

If you care about the environment, you might want to consider Brian Grady’s idea. Grady created “Fire Logs,” small steel baskets that can handle temperatures up to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re designed to burn wood pellets, which allows you to use a fire pit without harming the environment.

These pellets are made from compressed, kiln-dried wood fibers. They have several advantages over firewood.

The biggest environmental and logistical advantage of kiln-dried wood pellets is lightweight. This means that, unlike conventional firewood, they can be readily moved. Another benefit is that these pellets are free of invasive pests, allowing individuals to take them wherever needed.

Wood pellets also have the advantage of being packaged dry. They are simple to use since the light ignites fast. You may claim that they are easier to use than traditional firewood, but this is subjective. Pellets are often available in 40-pound bags, which may be easier to transport than logs for certain people.

How to Use Fire Logs:

  1. Unpack the 3 fire logs by pulling them out one at a time.
  2. Pellets should be added to each empty fire log. Don’t worry if any of the logs fall through or aren’t completely filled.
  3. Place the Repose Fire Logs on the stands that came with the package. Logs should be arranged in a way that allows air to circulate around them.
  4. You can start a fire in your fireplace using either a fire starter or a ball of newspapers. Using a fire starter makes it easier to light the fire. You should use a longer fireplace lighter to avoid having to reach too far under the logs.
  5. The wood pellets will start burning quickly.
  6. If your fire isn’t burning well, you can try to put it out and start again. You can use a metal rod or a thick stick to move the logs around. When the logs catch on fire, you can put them out and save them to put back on the fire later.
  7. It’s preferable to let a fire burn out naturally, but give the Fire Logs plenty of time to cool down. Keep in mind that the Fire Logs can endure temperatures of up to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, so even if it doesn’t appear to be hot, it could be. Fire Logs, fortunately, cool rapidly.
  8. Another advantage of pellets is that they burn completely, leaving little ash. There are no coals to worry about that could cause a fire. With traditional campfires, large coals can take a long time to cool down.
  9. When you are done using the Logs, shake out the ashes at the bottom. You can use them again after a minimal amount of cleaning. If they become darker after being used often, it’s okay. This is because of the wood pellets inside of them. However, if you want to clean them, you can use soap and water to remove the “soot.”

Wood Bricks as an Alternative to Burning Wood in a Fire Pit

Wood bricks are made of recycled wood chips and sawdust. They produce more heat than logs, and they are a cleaner-burning, high-quality product. Some of the most popular brands of wood bricks are BioBricks and BTU Bricks.

Wood Bricks are much lighter than firewood. For every pound of Wood Bricks, you get 1.7 pounds of regular firewood in terms of heat production. This means that using Wood Bricks for heating can help you save a lot of space in your home. Wooden bricks can also be taken camping.

Wood Bricks are easier to deal with than regular logs. They are also more environmentally sound because they are free of chemicals and insects. Wood Bricks are safe for camping, produce more heat than most firewood, and burn very efficiently.

Wood bricks are easier to deal with than wood pellets. Wood pellets can create a mess, but wood bricks do not. Wood bricks can be used in any fire pit without difficulty. Wood bricks are also more versatile than wood pellets because you can use them in a conventional stove, while you cannot use wood pellets in that way.

Pellets need to be burned in a pellet-specific stove to heat a house. People often find this frustrating because it costs money to use electricity to run the stove, and the stove requires a lot of maintenance. This includes emptying and cleaning the ash pan and the vents and exhausts on the stove. Many people think that wood bricks are a better alternative for these reasons.

Avoid Burning Materials in Your Fire Pit

When you are burning things in your fire pit, be careful about your chosen materials. Only burn wood or gas in a fire pit. This will help keep you and your home safe. It is also important to know if backyard fire pits are legal in your area.

Never burn any of the following materials in a fire pit:

  • Pressure Treated Wood:

When looking for wood to put in your fire pit, try to avoid pressure-treated wood. This type of wood is treated with harmful chemicals, and it is not a good idea to burn it.

  • Plastics:

When plastic is burned, it releases harmful chemicals and fumes into the air. These toxins can be bad for you and the environment. Additionally, burning plastic creates unpleasant odors.

  • Accelerants:

When starting a fire, it is best not to use accelerants like gas or other flammable liquids. These substances can be unpredictable and may cause an explosion. Instead, use dry kindling to start your fire.

  • Magazines:

The gases from burning periodicals, junk mail, or wrapping paper are not good for your health. Toxic vapors might be released by the ink on the paper.

  • Green Wood:

You should avoid burning wood that has recently been cut. The wood will not burn well and will make a lot of smoke since there is still a lot of moisture.

What About a Gas Fire Pit?

Only utilize gas as a fuel source for a gas fire pit. It’s never a good idea to burn wood in a gas fire pit since it can cause damage and even death.

Adding lava rocks, glass beads, or certain stones to your gas fire pit can give it a nicer look. Lava rocks and glass beads also help to distribute the fire evenly.

Do not use rocks, glass, or stones that are not meant for a fire pit. When heated to high temperatures, these materials can explode, creating a dangerous situation.

The materials used in a fire pit can also hold heat for a long time after the fire has been put out. You will need to be careful around the stones after extinguishing the fire.

What About a Chimenea?

Chimeneas are Mexican-style heaters originally used to provide home and indoor cooking. Chimeneas can now also be used to heat outdoor areas.

They are more like an outdoor fireplace because you can only access the fire from one direction. This is different from fire pits, which have 360-degree access to the fire.

There are three types of chimenea: fire clay, cast iron, and steel and cast iron. They each have their own benefits. For example, fire clay chimeneas can be used to burn different materials.

  • Only dry wood should be burned in a fire clay chimenea.
  • Wood, charcoal, and coal can all be burned in a cast-iron chimenea.
  • A steel chimenea burns wood, charcoal, and coal.

Is It Better to Have a Chiminea or a Fire Pit?

There are different ways to keep warm on a chilly autumn evening. Chimineas and fire pits are two ways, but they provide different experiences. Before deciding, you need to think about safety issues, space issues, and what people prefer.


When using fire, there is always a risk, whether in a chiminea or a fire pit. However, a chiminea’s fire is more contained than a fire pit, making it safer for use around children and pets.

If you frequently invite adults around and enjoy the feel of a campfire, a fire pit is a terrific option. The majority of adults know how to behave around a fire pit.

Size Matters

Chimineas come in different sizes, so you can choose the one that fits best in the space you have. A chiminea is a wonderful option if you don’t have a lot of room or want to utilize it on your patio.


A fire pit may make you or someone you love unwell if they are sensitive to smoke. Sitting upwind of the smoke is the easiest way to avoid this. A chiminea works similarly to a chimney, so the smoke will go up and away instead of near you.

Before You Use a Fire Pit

Before you use a fire pit, it is important to check the building codes in your area. Ensure you know the specifications and regulations that apply to fire pits in your area. Some areas do not allow fire pits in residential areas, while others have specific regulations you must follow.

Place your fire pit far away from your house, low-hanging trees, and other structures for safety. If you’re going to put the pit in the earth, call your local utility company to ensure you don’t damage any underground utility wires.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Can You Burn in a Fire Pit

Can You Burn Cardboard in a Fire Pit?

Cardboard can be dangerous if it is near a fire. The cardboard can cause the fire to get bigger and more dangerous. The ink on the cardboard can also make it hard to breathe.

Can You Burn Coal in a Fire Pit?

You can use coal as fuel on most fire pits that use wood. The technology and way of using the fire pits are similar. The fire pits can handle using coal, wood, and kindling together.

Can I Burn Wood Chips in a Fire Pit?

Burning wood chips rather than logs is a better choice because the chips burn almost entirely, leaving very little ash or residue. The structure must have a wood-burning stove or fireplace to burn wood chips.

Can You Use Coffee Logs in a Fire Pit?

Coffee Logs should not be used in barbecues, fire pits, chimineas, or other outdoor fires. Coffee Logs are not allowed to be burned in Smoke Control Areas.

Can You Burn Pallets in a Fire Pit?

You can usually burn pallets in fireplaces, but be careful with ones that have been treated with fumigant methyl bromide. Pallets may have been exposed to various chemicals while in use, so it’s important to be careful about what you burn them with.

Can You Burn Wood Pallets?

Pallets, lumber, and other scrap wood can be burned. You need to be careful that the wood is not treated with chemicals like arsenic or methyl bromide. These chemicals are dangerous when burned.

Can You Burn MDF?

DHA has warned people not to burn composite materials in their homes because what harmful chemicals may be released is unknown.

Can You Use Charcoal on an Open Fire?

Although charcoal is fantastic for grilling and grilling, it should not be used in your fireplace. Carbon monoxide is released when charcoal is burned, which can be dangerous.

For more information on what things should never be burned in a fire pit, visit this page.