Why Your Campfire Smokes So Much?  [Quick Answers You Should Know]

There is nothing better than setting up camp at a gorgeous place in the wilderness, especially if you have spent the entire day trekking or hiking. You will be the happiest when you sit down and have the chance to rest awhile. Once the sun sets, you have to obey the tradition of lighting a campfire and even cook your dinner on the fire. But what happens if your campfire smokes too much?

I know that experienced campers will agree with me that lighting a campfire without any smoke requires some knowledge. It is much more than gathering wood and lighting it on fire. You need certain skills to light a successful campfire. At the same time, you need a few other skills to select proper firewood that will make your fire hot and long-lasting without making it too smoky.


No one likes a smoky campfire - that much we can all agree on. It gets in your eyes and your nose; it makes your hair and clothes all smelly. That is never a good thing, so I recommend that you learn how to light a campfire that will not produce too much smoke. It is not that hard - when you read my detailed guide, you will see that it is very easy!

So, if you want to learn more about the art of lighting campfires, you are at the right place! I will tell you everything you need to know about campfires, how to start one that will smoke less, what to put and what not to put in it. If it sounds interesting so far, consider sticking around for even more information!

How Do You Stop A Campfire From Smoking

How Do You Stop A Campfire From Smoking?

Smoky campfires are a big no-no! If your campfire is smoking a lot, you should know that there is something wrong with it. Several things can cause a smoky fire:

  • Your campfire does not have proper airflow
  • You used wet firewood for your campfire
  • You used greenwood for your campfire
  • You put wrong materials or litter in your campfire
  • You did not build your campfire the right way
  • You did not make your campfire in the right place

All these things can affect the success of your campfire or lack thereof. If you see that your campfire is getting too smoky and you want to make it better, here is what you should do:

  1. Your fire has already started, but do you know what kind of wood you used to start it? Check the wood that you have gathered and see if it is green wood or wet wood. If you do not have proper wood, you need to get some immediately. Look around for some dry branches or small sticks that you can use.
  2. Another thing that you can do is remove all leaves, grass, or other debris that you might have lying around the fire. The only thing you want around the fire is wood - good, seasoned logs that will make for a hot and long-lasting fire.
  3. Stop throwing things in the fire on the off chance some of it will improve its quality. Adding grass clippings, dry leaves, or other trash will only make it worse. Gather kiln-dried wood only and use that to improve the fire.
  4. Try to build a friendly fire that will look like a tepee and have firewood upon firewood with some space between the logs. Your fire needs fresh air to burn - not allowing it to have enough air will only cause it to become smoky or die out. Add more wood now and then. That might improve the state of your campfire!

Having a smoky fire is not a good idea! Smoke can be harmful to the health of those around it, but also because it will also pollute the air and attract some unwanted visitors.

Did you know that fire smoke can even attract wild animals? The last thing you want creeping around your camp is a bear or a wolf, or even a lot of bugs that will bother you. So, do whatever you can to turn the smoke into proper flames and enjoy your fire without any unwanted guests.

Is Breathing in Campfire Smoke Bad

How to Keep Campfire Smoke Out Of Face?

As I mentioned before, you do not have to fear if a little campfire smoke gets in your face. It might not be pleasant, but it is not that harmful after all. It would help if you tried to keep the campfire smoke out of your face as much as possible. There are several ways to do that!

First of all, do your best to build a campfire that will be nice and hot - not smoky. Use the proper wood, take the time to build a fire, and ensure enough airflow between the logs. If you follow these steps, your fire will consist of warm flames and not smoke.

But then again, you cannot control a campfire that much, so it can always get a bit smokey against your wishes. If that happens, try to move away from the campfire and do not sit straight under the smoke. Try to sit in the direction opposite of the smoke’s direction. If you do this, you should be successful in keeping the smoke out of your face.

How to Burn Wood without Smoke

How to Burn Wood without Smoke?

To avoid going through the trouble of building a fire only for it to be too smoky, you should know what to do and what to avoid. Here are the steps that you need to follow when you want to build a successful campfire without the smoke:

  1. Find a good place to build the campfire. This means that you should clear out a bit of space, removing all dead leaves, litter, or branches lying around. Not only will this step help you build a better fire, but it will also help your fire stay localized. After all, you do not want it to spread and cause a wildfire!
  2. Collect the proper type of wood - this means dry, seasoned logs or also called kiln-dried firewood. If you use greenwood for your fire, you will only make it smoky because the wood's moisture will not let the fire become hot and warm. It would help if you used only seasoned logs cut for firewood - the logs should be oak, maple, beech, birch, or ash.
  3. Once you have your firewood, you should start building a fire at the place you cleared out. Make sure that you build it step by step and in the shape of a tepee. Leave some space between the logs so the fire would have proper airflow.
  4. It would help if you tried to light the campfire from the bottom. Light up a cotton pad or piece of paper and try to place it at the bottom of the tepee. That way, the fire can spread little by little and allow the logs to catch fire.
  5. When you get your fire going, you should add log after log to keep the fire burning. The firewood you add should also be dry and seasoned. If you add greenwood or wet wood, it will cause your fire to die out.
  6. Under no circumstances should you add anything else to the fire - no leaves, no wet wood, no debris, and no plastic. The smoke from the campfire is enough to cause some air pollution - adding anything else will only worsen this.
  7. Finally, the most important point I want to mention is that you should always pay close attention to your fire once you start it. Please do not leave it unattended or let it get out of control and spread. This is of crucial importance - you must not let the fire damage the surroundings and ruin the natural habitat of many animals and bugs!

What Can You Burn In A Fire Pit Without Smoking?

I cannot stress this enough - to have a proper fire, what you need is some good seasoned dry wood. The best thing you can use in a fire pit is kiln-dried firewood. This type of wood will burn efficiently without all that nasty smoke.

Of course, you can always use some of your firewood. You can arrange the firewood and use one of the famous fire starters to make sure you make the perfect fire. Do not add anything wet, any plastic, rubber, or other harmful materials to the fire, and you will be good to go.

With campfires, it is all about the wood. If you have the right logs, you will have a great, smokeless campfire that will burn hotter than any fire you have ever built. Again, you can use logs of oak, maple, beech, birch, ash trees, or even ones made from olive, apple, or cherry trees. You should also consider black locust logs - they do not produce as much smoke as some of the other logs.

Another thing I would like to bring your attention to is the logs that you use. You should always use logs cut from trees that have been already approved. Illegal logging is a big problem that the world faces, and you should not support illegal loggers by buying your firewood from them.

If you can, always buy wood from professional woodcutters that have established businesses. That way, you can help preserve the forests and stop illegal cutting. There is nothing better than having a clear mind when it comes to things like these, and using the proper firewood can help you have a clear conscience. That is why I stress it so much!

I have talked all about successful campfires in fire pits, but I have not mentioned that you should always check for standing bans for fires of all kinds. National parks and campsites sometimes place bans to protect surrounding forests and wildlife from potential risk. So, before you set off on your next camping trip, make sure that your desired campsite is ban-free, or else you might not be able to light your fire!


Campfires are so easy to light if you know how to light them the right way. Let’s remind ourselves - to start a successful smoke-less fire; we need seasoned firewood set up in the form of a tepee with adequate airflow between the logs. Nothing more, nothing less!

When you light the fire, do not leave it unattended - keep it under control at all times and put it out once you do not need it anymore. That way, you will make sure that your campsite is safe and the surrounding greenery and animals. Do whatever you can to preserve the nature around you - the planet will thank you for it!

Andrew Mullen

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