How Soon Can You Burn Wood After Cutting- Burn Wood Safely!

You just cut down a tree and are now wondering how soon you can burn wood after cutting.

While you cannot burn wet wood, we often wonder if we must wait until it is completely seasoned.

Generally, you must wait 6 to 12 months until the wood is fully seasoned. This is a long time!

While you can burn wood before this time, it will be very hard to light, produce lots of smoke and fume at a low temperature.

The drying time will be higher depending on how you stack the wood, how big they are, what type of wood, and many more. 

In a nutshell, you would have to wait at least a few months before burning your firewood. 

Let’s keep reading. 

How Long Is It Before You Can Burn Wood?

When the temperature drops and winter rolls in, many people love to burn a campfire to keep warm, you may also use the fireplace or a backyard firepit.

 But when will the wood be ready? This is an important consideration when you want to burn firewood. \

Seasoning Firewood

Seasoning your firewood just means drying out your firewood. 

This ensures that it is good to burn and does not produce harmful smoke that may cause respiratory problems

Generally, you are supposed to leave your firewood to dry for 6 to 18 months before burning it. 

However, this depends on the following:

  • Water content- It makes sense to say that very wet wood will take a long time to dry out. If you have green wood, you have a long time to wait for it to dry, as it has a lot of moisture! If you burn wood that has water in it, it can create more smoke which is harmful. Work with dead trees, as they will burn easily. 
  • Humidity and temperature- Your firewood dries quickly during spring and summer when the temperature is high, and humidity is low. You can speed the process up with a homemade firewood kiln, which can dry your wood quicker. 
  • Wood species- It is not always dense wood with higher water content, but it will take longer to season. It is worth it because dense wood gives you double the heat compared to lighter wood. 
  • How you stack the wood- When you cut your firewood, you can cut it smaller and better. Split pieces allow the wood to dry better, and one side of the bark catches the flame more easily than pieces with bark on all 4 sides. You should stack the wood loosely and off the ground for better drying and keep it covered to protect it from dew and rain. 
firewood with an axe

(firewood with an axe)

Figuring Out If Wood Is Ready to Burn

Now you need to figure out what seasoned wood looks like. You don’t want to burn your wood before it is ready because you might ruin your fireplace and cause a hazard. We don’t want to do that!

Here are some ways to see what seasoned wood looks like before you want to burn it:

  • Dried wood sounds hollow when you tap it or it falls to the ground. Wood with moisture falls with a thud sound. 
  • When the wood has less water in it, it will be lighter than unseasoned wood. Sometimes it is half as heavy. 
  • As the wood dries, the ends will split, opening wider and wider. When you see this, you will know that the wood is getting seasoned nicely. Greenwood is bright, and aged wood looks dull. 
  • For the best results, just use a moisture meter. Seasoned wood will have a moisture content of 20% or less. 
a stack of firewood

(a stack of firewood)

What Happens If You Burn Unseasoned Wood

Burning unseasoned wood is dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it as far as possible. It will be harder to start and keep the fire going with unseasoned wood. 

This wood would give out more smoke and soot, which can make a build-up in the chimney. This is called creosote.

Creosote is very flammable, which can catch a flame quickly and even explode if you leave it to build up. 

This will burn your house down and cause harm to your loved ones. If you have to burn greenwood, you should only do so outside and far away from the house. 

You must have your chimney swept at least twice a year so it is clean and you are not at risk of a chimney fire. 

You must also remember that burning seasoned wood will not stop the build-up of creosote, but it will reduce congestion. 

This helps with peace of mind when you are doing your chimney sweeps. 

some logs by the fireplace

(some logs by the fireplace)

There are some types of wood you shouldn’t burn because they can release bad chemicals or make too much creosote. 

These are painted or treated wood and wood from toxic trees. Examples include pine, eucalyptus and cedar. 

You should opt for hardwoods such as oak and maple.

If you cut down softwood trees such as aspen, you can probably burn these after cutting.

 They have very little grain and don’t need to be seasoned before you burn them. 

Some hardwood Birch species can also be burned without seasoning because it does not have lots of water, but it’s better when fully seasoned. 

wood burning

(wood burning)


There are many things to consider when deciding how soon we can burn wood.

 If you do everything appropriately when you season the wood, such as cutting it into smaller pieces, stacking it loosely and covering them when necessary, you will have fire-ready wood in 6 months. 

Some softwoods you can burn without seasoning, but you are safer burning those outside. Be safe with fires and always put it out when you’re done!