Pine trees are an excellent source of timber for the construction industry. They are a fast-growing type of tree that is easy to work with and economical to grow at scale. But is pine worthy of your fireplace?

In this guide, we’ll decide if pine makes good firewood, whether it’s used in your home or outdoors.

Is pine good for firewood?

Pine isn’t a great choice for firewood if you want to use it in your home’s fireplace or stove. Its low heat output and high sap content mean you’ll get high levels of creosote build-up. Pine is ideal for short outdoor campfires as it won’t burn all night, and the smell is hard to beat.

  • Pine’s heat output is low, making it less desirable as the primary wood source in freezing climates.
  • Pine lights easily and is cheap, perfect for kindling.
  • Its coals are poor, which isn’t ideal for heating homes all night.
  • Pine is highly resinous, so it isn’t recommended for BBQ or smoking meat; it makes a mess of the smoker and may spoil your food. 
An infographic about pine firewood including all its important burning statistics.

Pine firewood burn qualities

1. Heat output

For most of us, the main purpose of firewood is to provide heat. If you live in an icy climate, there are better firewood varieties. White pine’s rating is relatively low at 15.9 million BTUs while, Ponderosa pine has 16.2. Lodgepole pine is a better option at 21.1.  

Compared to other firewoods, white pine produces more heat than eastern red cedar, basswood, white fir, and buckeye. However, popular wood like white ash, beech, maple, honeylocust, and oak give off significantly more heat. If pinyon pine firewood is available near you, it is also a great choice.

Wood varietyHeat per Cord (Million BTUs)
Eastern red cedar13.0
Basswood (Linden)13.8
White pine15.9
Ponderosa pine16.2
Lodgepole pine21.1
White ash24.2
Gambel oak30.7

2. Smoke

We don’t suggest using pine indoors unless you want sore red eyes from a smoke-filled room. It produces a lot more smoke than most other types of wood, although Douglas fir gives it a run for its money.

Although an outdoor breeze will help to remove smoke around a campfire, it’s still not ideal. Expect to get at least a few massive smoke plumes in your face as the fire burns.

Of course, there’s a difference between seasoned pine and green wood. While dry wood still gives off smoke, it’s nothing compared to what you’ll face using the green stuff.

3. Ease of splitting

Round pine logs will take forever to dry and won’t burn well. Like any firewood, splitting it is your best option.

Although some wood, like maple and oak, is easy to split, pine is usually more challenging. It’s riddled with knots, which are a nightmare to chop into. If you hit the jackpot knot-free pine, you’ll find it’s easy to work with.

4. Sparks

Whether in the house or enjoying the outdoors, firewood that pops and sparks should be avoided. It’s an easy way to start an unwanted fire, and no one wants a burning ember landing in their lap!

Whatever type of pine firewood you choose, it’s notoriously bad for sparking. If you use it inside, ensure the fireguard is in place. Don’t leave the campfire unattended outdoors, as a bush fire could result.   

5. Aroma

People enjoy the scent of pine, commonly used in air fresheners and cleaning products. Used as firewood, pine is also well-regarded for the fragrance it gives off burning.

Meat smokers shouldn’t get ideas about using it in their BBQ or smoker. Its high levels of resin are not a good match for meat smokers.

6. Coaling

Fires last longer if the wood has good coaling properties. This is important because no one wants to haul loads of wood to keep the fire going.

Another benefit of effective coaling is that embers may await you the next morning. You can toss a log onto the fire, and it’ll probably light again.

Pine doesn’t coal well and tends to burn quickly, much like redwood firewood. Compared to almost any other firewood, it performs poorly on the coals it produces.

7. Creosote build-up

All firewood produces creosote as it is burned, but pine creates it at high levels. Creosote is a type of black tar that forms inside chimneys. Exposure to humans can be harmful, and it’ll also block chimneys over time.

If you must use pine inside, make sure the chimney is serviced regularly. You can also use a combination of pine for kindling and another type of wood for the larger pieces.

8. Sap

Pine is loaded with resin and sap, making it messy to work with. It’ll get everywhere, sticking to your gloves, clothes, and axe or chainsaw. For this reason, it is better suited to outdoor campfires.

A healthy pine tree on a white background
A healthy looking pine tree.

Tips for seasoning pine

Seasoned wood has been thoroughly dried. Burning green pine is not a good idea unless you’re desperate. The high sap levels will produce plumes of eye-stinging smoke, and the wood will burn too fast.

There are ways to speed up the seasoning process. Living in a hot, dry state is a good starting point, as the climate is ideal for seasoning. If you don’t have weather on your side, follow these tips to speed up the process.

  • Stack in the right place: accelerate drying time by positioning the face of the stack towards the wind and avoiding shady areas.
  • Split the firewood: splitting the logs increases the surface area exposed to sunshine and wind.
  • Space out the rows: create a series of stacks with a 3-5” gap between each to assist with air circulation.
  • Elevate the wood: lay the wood on some planks or pallets to allow airflow under the wood.
  • Protect the wood: use a tarp to cover the stacks from rain and snow while keeping one side exposed to the wind.

The pros and cons of burning pine


  • Cheap and abundant
  • Lovely aroma
  • Excellent for kindling
  • Quick to light


  • Low heat output
  • Too many sparks and pops
  • High in sap and resin
  • Can be difficult to chop
A large pile of pine logs with a pine forest in the background
Pine firewood is abundant in many parts of the world.

Commonly asked questions

How hard is it to split pine?

If you’re lucky enough to get knot-free wood, green pine isn’t a problem to split. But it often has knots through it that make splitting tough work.

How do I know if the wood is pine?

You’ll know it’s a pine tree if it has a combination of needles instead of leaves and sticky sap. Pine trees also have a lot of knotty branches.  

How long does pine take to season?

Pine is quick to season, taking roughly 6-8 months. In hot, dry climates, you may find pine is ready to use after one hot summer.

Is pine okay for a fire pit?

Pine makes acceptable kindling in a fire pit but shouldn’t be used as the main wood. It is loaded with sap and resin that make a mess, and the wood burns much quicker than most popular wood varieties.

Why does pine burn so fast?

Pine is a fast-burning wood thanks to its high levels of resin and turpentine. While this feature isn’t ideal for most fires, it makes the wood great for kindling. 

Fast facts

  • The pine family (Pinaceae) has over 115 species of evergreen conifers.
  • Popular varieties include the Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), commonly found in North America.
  • The timber industry reveres the Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).
  • The Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) grows in cold mountainous areas and the coast.

Summing up

We don’t recommend using pine as your main firewood source if you can avoid it. Its heat output is low while you must contend with smoke, sparks, pops, and mess.

Pine isn’t a good choice for firewood, but it still has its place on the hearth. Consider splitting it into kindling instead of using big pieces of pine wood. It burns quickly and is excellent for starting fires.

Another possible use for pine is in outdoor campfires. Be prepared to dodge embers, and don’t leave it unattended, as you might end up with a forest fire on your hands.      

Similar Posts