Why Is My Fire Pit Smoking So Much? 3 Tips To Reduce It Now!

close up of a fire pit bowl with wood burning and smoking

Fire pits are the main attractions of many fire night events. However, a smoking fire pit can spoil all the fun. Is there a way to stop your fire pit from smoking so much?

Your fire pit can smoke too much if it contains old fire debris or if you’re using the wrong wood. It could also be that you didn’t set up your fire correctly. Clean your fire pit, use the correct wood, and assemble it correctly to reduce smoking. 

A smoking fire pit is as discomforting as it is unhealthy. In this article, I’ll elaborate on the causes and give you practical solutions.

Why Your Fire Pit Is Smoking

Great burning fire pits are part of many lovely memories. The sight of the fireworks, the crackling sound from burning wood, and the night heat create a warm and exciting atmosphere.

The lovely scenario I just painted above can be spoiled by too much smoke coming out of your fire pit. Let’s discuss why your fire pit produces too much smoke.

  • Remnants from old fires: These are ashes and remnants from previously burnt wood. Setting up new fire pits with old debris can cause too much smoking. Besides the fact that ashes can trigger smoking in fires, the debris from a previous fire may not burn properly, resulting in smoke.
  • Wrong fire pit setting: It’s one thing to set a fire and another to set it properly. Setting a fire is more than gathering wood and lighting it up.
  • Wrong wood: Freshly cut wood won’t burn well in the fire. They’ll cause a lot of smoke, too.

3 Tips to Reduce Smoke in Your Fire Pit

close up of a camping fire pit burning and smoking late in the evening when dark
Summer camping fire pit with blue smoke

Too much smoke will affect your health and spoil the fun of your party. Here’s how to reduce the smoke from your fire pit.

1. Clean Your Fire Pit

Clean your fire pit after every burning. Before you do that, allow the debris from the fire pit to cool. It can take hours or a full day to get cool.

Avoid clearing your old fire debris just before setting up a new fire. Water or rain should not touch the old debris before packing it out of the fire pit.

2. Use Hard Dried Wood

Freshly cut wood is usually heavy, high in moisture level, and unsuitable for burning. This usually makes for more smoke and less fire.

Kiln hard-dried wood contains little moisture and is much more suitable for burning. It can burn hotter and longer, producing little smoke.

Some of the best types of wood for building a fire in a fire pit are:

  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Birch
  • Hawthorne
  • Hazel

If you want to source your own wood, try to dry it before using it. A kiln is obviously the fastest way to do it, but if you don’t have one, leave the wood for at least 28 days in the sun.

3. Use Effective Burning Methods

Instead of randomly burning your wood, you can learn some effective burning methods. Two noteworthy effective fire pit burning methods are:

  • The long chain method: The pieces of wood are arranged vertically and cleaved together at the top. Don’t place the pieces of wood too far from each other, but also don’t place them so close that it impedes airflow.
  • Tee-pee method: The tee-pee method involves placing a tinder bundle and building a sort of tee-pee or cone around it with larger pieces of wood.

5 Tips for Building a Fire in a Fire Pit

A poorly built fire pit is a very common cause of excessive smoking. You can avoid the issue and make your fires burn for longer by learning the basics of making a good fire.

1) Choose a Suitable Fire Pit

When choosing a fire pit, consider how deep it’s going to be placed. Digging a fire pit in your backyard can be a good choice if it’s adequately dug.

However, digging too deep can prevent proper airflow into the fire, resulting in a lot of smoking. When digging, make it shallow enough to allow oxygen into your fire.

There are other alternatives if you don’t want to dig a fire pit. You can purchase a fire pit like the Tiki Brand Fire Pit (available on Amazon.com). It’s light and portable and therefore easy to transport. It also produces lots of fire and less smoke.

2) How About a Smokeless Fire Pit?

There are countless options for smokeless fire pits. One we’ve written about here before is the Breeo smokeless fire pit which you may want to check out. These actually take a bit of time to get going when you first light them up, but once they do the smoke is reduced significantly!

Here are a few options that we love and all are available on Amazon, including the Breeo we mentioned above!

Breeo Smokeless Fire Pit

Solo Stove Smokeless Fire Pit

Tiki Smokeless Fire Pit

3) Store Wood Properly

Storage is essential if you’re going to gather wood ahead of your event. Don’t store your wood in a damp environment or it will absorb moisture. Damp wood doesn’t burn properly and would produce too much smoke.

Wooden pallets allow you to stack your wood off the ground and away from moisture. Try to put your wood in a ventilated space.

4) Be Patient

Starting up your fire with kiln hardwood can be very hard and stressful. Add some dry softwood when starting a fire. It burns quickly and helps the hardwood catch up.

Some trash, like paper and polyethylene, is easily combustible and can light up quickly, helping your fire grow. However, others don’t do so well in fire and can cause smoke.

Since we’re talking about burning and getting a fire started, you may also want to read about whether you should burn paper in a fire pit or not.

5) Avoid Infested Wood

Do not use wood with fungi growth or maggots to make fire. This can spread the fungi and produce disturbing odors.

If you have infested wood, remove all fungi and maggots and dry it out in the sun for a few hours. You can always order dried wood. The drying process helps reduce moisture to 20-25% and kills off all fungi and maggots in the wood. 

How To Put Out Your Fire Pit Without Releasing Too Much Smoke

Putting out your fire pit correctly is as important as how you build it. Doing it wrong can release a lot of unnecessary smoke, and it will be just as annoying as it was when you were starting the fire.

Here are a few tips on how to put off your fire with less smoke.

  • Avoid adding dried hardwood or any other fire kindle when you’re close to putting off your fire.
  • When you are set to put off the fire completely, carefully separate highly burning wood from the fire pit, place them by the fire pit, and allow them to cool off.
  • Many people use water to quench the flaming ashes in their fire pit. If you’re using water, keep a distance to avoid hot splashes.
  • Use sand or dirt to avoid direct and indirect smoke.
  • Get a shovel to spread out your ashes and ensure no red flames are left.

Effects of Smoking Fire Pits

It’s uncomfortable to gather around smoking fire pits. However, they have other damaging effects besides spoiling the fun of your event.

  • Smoke can cause a peppering sensation in your eyes. This can lead to itching and even induce eye defects.
  • Smoke causes air pollution. Air pollution can cause several health problems in your skin and lungs.
  • Smoke negatively affects the environment. Excessive smoke contributes to the greenhouse effect and can cause forest fires by spreading out ashes.

Final Thoughts

A great fire pit is the start of many beautiful nights. However, too much smoke can kill all the fun and cause health issues.

If your fire pit is smoking too much, it may be due to:

  • Old debris
  • Wrong pit fire setting
  • Wrong wood choice

To reduce the smoke, remove all debris and set your fire correctly. Use dried hardwood, as fresh wood won’t burn properly and produce a lot of smoke.

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