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Less Smoke in your outdoor fire

Posted by Hartnett Products on

Good advice here from The Woodee (

Are you struggling to light a smoke-free fire?

What is smoke? Simply put, it is a combination of water and hydrocarbons trapped in the wood that you burn. Even with very dry wood, there will be water trapped in the cell structure of the wood that will not come out with normal seasoning or kiln drying and is only released when burnt. That said, you can reduce this smoke when you understand the principles of what makes an effective fire.

3 key things to keep in mind that you need:
1.  A good supply of oxygen
2. The right type and size of fuel
3. Heat

Your fire needs oxygen to burn. The Woodee is designed with this in mind. The oak leaf cutouts draw in oxygen constantly, providing your fire with much-needed air.

Our other top tips:

Light your fire in the top-down method (shown below), so that you create space between the logs to allow oxygen to get in and fuel the fire. This method also burns off the smoke more effectively than lighting from the bottom.

Use softwood kindling that will burn quickly and help the fire take hold.

Use logs that are kiln dried or well seasoned and that have a moisture content of below 20%. If you are seasoning your own wood, invest in a moisture meter.

Use small split logs - they have a bigger surface area and will burn faster and get up to a higher heat more quickly, and will not smoulder. If you have large logs invest in an axe and split them into quarters, it will make all the difference.

When you first light your fire, it will smoke as the water and hydrocarbons start to evaporate - this starts at about 149°C (300°F). However, when the fire gets hot enough, they will ignite and turn into water and carbon dioxide, which is invisible - at this point you will just see flames.
What you need to remember is that when you add more fresh wood to your fire, this process will naturally start all over again; so having a hot fire will ensure that newly added wood will ignite those hydrocarbons quickly and reduce smoke.

What is the top-down method? This is the method of lighting a fire recommended by HETAS:

1. Place 6-8 kiln dried logs in your fire pit, stacked like a Jenga tower. Lie a few kindling sticks across these. Place a natural firelighter in the middle of the tower at the top

2. Light the firelighter and leave for a few minutes, until it is burning well

3. Add 2-3 more logs to your fire and leave again - when adding more logs ensure plenty of air gaps to ensure good airflow.

4. Continue to add more logs until the fire has a good base of heat

5. If you’re planning on cooking, wait until the logs start to turn white. When they do, your fire pit is ready to start cooking on. Our stainless steel grills sit directly on the rim of our fire pits and are designed to take the heat of your fire and weight of any cooking pans.

Do you have any tips for lighting a smoke-free fire? We'd love to hear them! Or if you feel like you need some advice, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help! 

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