Can You Burn Cedar In A Fire Pit

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, then you know how much fun it can be to gather around a fire pit. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows or just enjoying the warmth, there’s something special about sitting around a flickering flame. But when it comes to choosing the right wood for your fire pit, there are many factors to consider.

One question that often arises is whether or not cedar can be burned in a fire pit. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using cedar in your fire pit and help you decide if it’s the right choice for your next camping trip or backyard barbecue.

Cedar is a popular wood choice for many different applications, from building decks and fences to creating furniture and decorative items. It’s known for its pleasant aroma and attractive appearance, which makes it an appealing option for use in a fire pit. However, some people are hesitant to burn cedar because they’ve heard that it can produce harmful emissions or damage their fire pit over time.

So, what’s the truth? Can you safely burn cedar in your fire pit without any negative consequences? Let’s find out!

Understanding The Properties Of Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is a type of softwood that is known for its fragrant aroma and natural insect-repelling properties. It has been widely used in building construction, furniture making, and crafting.

The wood is also popularly used in fire pits as it produces an aromatic smoke that adds to the ambiance of any outdoor gathering. Cedar wood has a low density which makes it easier to ignite than other types of hardwoods. It also burns at a lower temperature than hardwoods like oak or maple.

Cedar emits less smoke than other woods, making it an ideal choice for those who do not want their fire pit to emit too much smoke. When burned, cedar produces a sweet fragrance that adds to the overall experience of sitting around a fire pit.

While cedar is safe to burn in fire pits, some people may experience allergic reactions when exposed to cedar smoke. Additionally, because this type of wood burns quickly, it may not be the best option for those who want long-lasting fires.

However, if you are looking for a way to add an aromatic touch to your outdoor gatherings and don’t mind frequent stoking of the fire pit then burning cedar could be a great option for you!

Pros Of Burning Cedar In A Fire Pit

As we have learned, cedar wood possesses certain properties that make it a popular choice for various purposes. But can you burn cedar in a fire pit? The answer is yes, and there are several reasons why burning cedar in a fire pit might be a good idea.

Firstly, cedar wood burns hot and fast, making it an ideal choice for starting fires. It also produces very little smoke and creates a pleasant aroma that many people enjoy.

Additionally, burning cedar in a fire pit can help repel insects such as mosquitoes due to the natural oils and scents released by the wood.

Moreover, burning cedar in a fire pit can be beneficial for the environment. Cedar trees are often used in landscaping and construction projects, so using the scraps for fuel instead of letting them go to waste is an eco-friendly option.

However, it is important to note that like any other type of burning material, caution should always be exercised when using cedar wood in a fire pit to prevent accidental fires or injuries.

In summary, burning cedar in a fire pit can not only serve practical purposes but also provide an enjoyable experience with its fragrance and insect-repelling properties. Furthermore, opting for this eco-friendly choice helps reduce waste while still providing warmth and ambiance during outdoor gatherings.

Cons Of Burning Cedar In A Fire Pit

Cedar may seem like a good option for your fire pit, but there are several cons to consider before starting that blaze.

Firstly, cedar has a high resin content which means it produces more smoke than other types of wood. This can cause irritation to your eyes and lungs, not to mention the unpleasant odor that lingers on clothes and hair.

Secondly, burning cedar releases chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde which are harmful to humans and the environment. These chemicals can lead to respiratory problems if inhaled frequently over time. Additionally, they contribute to air pollution, which is a major concern in many cities.

Lastly, cedar is not the most efficient or cost-effective option for fueling your fire pit. It burns quickly and doesn’t produce as much heat as other hardwoods like oak or maple. This means you’ll need more wood and have to constantly tend to the fire to maintain its warmth. Plus, buying cedar logs can be expensive compared to other options.

Considering these cons, it’s best to avoid burning cedar in your fire pit altogether.

Instead, opt for woods like oak or maple that burn cleanly and efficiently without harming you or the environment.

Not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll also be making a healthier choice for yourself and those around you.

Health And Safety Considerations

While there are certainly cons to burning cedar in a fire pit, it is still possible to do so safely. However, there are some important health and safety considerations that must be taken into account.

Firstly, it is important to note that burning any type of wood can release harmful chemicals into the air. This includes cedar. As such, it is recommended that you only burn cedar outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Additionally, you should avoid inhaling the smoke that is produced when burning cedar.

Secondly, cedar can produce sparks and embers when burned. These sparks and embers can pose a fire hazard if they come into contact with nearby flammable materials. As such, it is important to keep a close eye on your fire pit while burning cedar and to ensure that there are no flammable materials nearby.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that some people may have allergic reactions to the smoke produced by burning cedar. If you or anyone in your household has allergies or respiratory issues, it may be best to avoid burning cedar altogether.

Overall, while burning cedar in a fire pit is possible, it’s not without its risks. By taking the appropriate health and safety precautions outlined above, you can minimize these risks and enjoy a safe and enjoyable outdoor fire experience.

How To Properly Prepare Cedar For A Fire Pit

You should always choose dry cedar when preparing it for a fire pit.

It’s important to cut it into small pieces to ensure it burns evenly.

Otherwise, it could cause damage to your fire pit.

Once it’s cut, you’re ready to go.

Choose Dry Cedar

Have you ever wondered if you can burn cedar in a fire pit? The answer is yes, but it’s important to properly prepare it first.

One crucial step is choosing dry cedar. Dry cedar burns hotter and longer than wet cedar, making it the ideal choice for your fire pit.

Wet cedar can produce more smoke and less heat, which can be unpleasant for you and your guests. Additionally, burning wet wood can create dangerous sparks that could start an accidental fire.

To ensure that your cedar is dry enough to burn, store it in a dry place for at least six months before using it in your fire pit. This allows the wood to fully dry out and removes any excess moisture that could compromise its ability to burn efficiently.

By selecting dry cedar, you’ll have a safer, more enjoyable experience around your fire pit.

Cut Cedar Into Small Pieces

Now that you know the importance of using dry cedar in your fire pit, it’s time to discuss another essential step: cutting the cedar into small pieces.

This makes it easier to ignite and ensures a more consistent burn.

When cutting cedar, aim for pieces that are no larger than six inches in diameter.

This size is perfect for most fire pits and allows for good airflow between the logs.

Use a saw or axe to cut the cedar into manageable sizes, and be sure to wear protective gear like gloves and eyewear.

Once you’ve cut your cedar into small pieces, stack them neatly near your fire pit so they’re ready when you need them.

By taking these simple steps, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience around your fire pit every time.

Alternatives To Cedar Wood For Fire Pits

While cedar wood may be a popular choice for fire pits due to its pleasant aroma and natural bug-repelling properties, there are a variety of alternative options worth considering. Not only can these alternatives provide unique benefits, but they can also offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

One option for fire pit wood is applewood. This hardwood offers a sweet and fruity scent when burned, making it ideal for outdoor gatherings. Additionally, applewood produces a steady flame that burns hot and long, making it an excellent fuel source for cooking over the fire.

Another option is mesquite wood. Known for its strong flavor profile, mesquite gives off a distinctive smoky scent that can add depth to any outdoor gathering. This hardwood burns hot and fast, making it perfect for those seeking quick warmth or intense heat.

Lastly, oak wood offers a classic choice for fire pit fuel. With its slow-burning nature and high heat output, oak is ideal for those seeking a longer-lasting fire with consistent heat levels. Additionally, oak provides minimal smoke output and can be easily sourced from sustainably managed forests.

  • Consider using fruit tree woods like cherry or peach for added sweetness in your fires.

  • Look into using hickory wood if you want to add boldness to your food cooked over the fire.

  • Experiment with mixing different types of woods to create unique scents and flavors.

When selecting wood for your fire pit, it’s important to consider not only the desired scent but also factors such as burn time and sustainability. By exploring alternative options beyond cedar, you can find the perfect fit for your outdoor gatherings while also making an eco-conscious choice.

Conclusion: Making An Informed Decision

As you sit around your fire pit, the smell of burning cedar fills the air. The crackling sound of the flames pairs perfectly with the soft glow from the heat. It’s a serene and peaceful moment, but you can’t help but wonder if it’s safe to burn cedar.

To make an informed decision about whether or not to burn cedar in your fire pit, it’s important to consider all aspects. Cedar is a popular choice for firewood because it burns slowly and produces a pleasant aroma that repels insects. However, there are some potential risks involved.

Firstly, burning cedar can produce a lot of smoke which can be harmful to both humans and the environment. Secondly, cedar contains oils that can cause sparks or embers to fly out of the fire pit, which could potentially start a forest fire. Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if burning cedar in your fire pit is worth any potential risks.

Pros Cons
Burns slowly Produces lots of smoke
Pleasant aroma Contains oils that can cause sparks
Insect-repelling properties Potential risk for starting forest fires

In conclusion, while burning cedar in your fire pit might seem like a good idea due to its slow-burning nature and pleasant aroma, it poses potential risks such as producing excessive smoke or causing forest fires. By weighing these pros and cons against each other, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to use cedar as firewood in your outdoor space. Remember to always prioritize safety first!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cedar Wood Be Used For Cooking In A Fire Pit?

Cedar wood is a popular choice for cooking in fire pits because of its aromatic and flavorful qualities. It’s often used to smoke meats and vegetables, adding a unique taste to the food.

However, it’s important to note that not all types of cedar wood are safe for cooking. Red cedar, for example, contains oils that can be harmful when ingested.

Always make sure you’re using the right type of cedar wood before cooking with it in your fire pit.

How Long Does Cedar Wood Take To Burn In A Fire Pit?

Cedar wood burns relatively quickly in a fire pit, with the exact duration varying depending on the size and density of the pieces being burned.

Generally, cedar will burn for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, providing ample warmth and light during that time.

As with any type of wood, it’s important to exercise caution when burning cedar in a fire pit, keeping a close eye on the flames and ensuring that they don’t get out of control.

Overall though, cedar can be a great choice for those looking to enjoy a cozy evening outdoors by the fire pit.

Will Burning Cedar Wood In A Fire Pit Leave A Strong Scent?

Burning cedar wood in a fire pit is known to leave a strong and pleasant scent that many people enjoy.

The aroma of cedar can create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for backyard gatherings or camping trips.

The scent can also repel insects, making it a natural bug repellent.

However, it’s important to note that the strength of the smell may vary depending on the type of cedar wood you choose to burn and how much of it you use.

Can Cedar Wood Be Used In A Fire Pit If It Has Been Treated With Chemicals?

Don’t even think about using chemically treated cedar wood in a fire pit!

It’s like playing Russian roulette with your health and safety.

The fumes emitted from burning chemically treated cedar can be highly toxic and carcinogenic, causing serious respiratory problems or even cancer.

So, unless you want to risk your life for a bonfire, stay away from this hazardous material.

However, if you’re looking to add a pleasant aroma and ambiance to your fire pit, burning natural cedar wood is an excellent choice that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Is It Safe To Burn Cedar Wood In A Fire Pit If Someone In The Area Has Respiratory Issues?

If someone in the area has respiratory issues, it may not be safe to burn cedar wood in a fire pit.

Burning any type of wood releases smoke and other chemicals into the air which can irritate the lungs and exacerbate breathing problems.

It is important to consider the health and safety of those around you before using a fire pit, especially if they have pre-existing respiratory conditions.

If you do decide to use cedar wood in your fire pit, make sure to take necessary precautions such as ensuring proper ventilation and keeping a safe distance from anyone who may be affected by the smoke.


In conclusion, burning cedar wood in a fire pit is a great option for those looking for an aromatic experience while enjoying the warmth of a fire.

Cedar wood burns relatively quickly and produces a pleasant scent that can enhance any outdoor gathering.

However, it’s important to note that if the cedar wood has been treated with chemicals, it should not be burned in a fire pit as it can release harmful fumes.

It’s also important to consider the safety of those around you while burning cedar wood in a fire pit.

If someone in the area has respiratory issues, it may not be safe for them to be exposed to the smoke produced by burning cedar wood.

Ultimately, while cedar wood can make for an enjoyable addition to any outdoor gathering, it’s important to prioritize safety and take precautions when necessary.

One interesting statistic to note is that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, smoke from burning certain types of wood such as cedar can contain harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

This highlights the importance of being mindful of what types of wood are being burned and ensuring that proper ventilation is available when using a fire pit.