Why is my Fire so Smokey?

There are a few reasons why a fire may be extra smoky:

  • You covered it with oily rags: Oily rags create a lot of black smoke when lit. Do not cover your fire with oily rags.
  • There is a burning tire in the fire: Burning tires also create a lot of black thick smoke. Safely remove the burning black tire and the smoke should start to dissipate.
  • A carton if cigarettes fell into the fire: This would also create a lot of smoke. Be careful, throwing packs of cigarettes into the fire has been proven to be addictive.
  • You have been using live foliage: Live sticks and leaves are full of water which creates a lot of gas as it heats up and burns. Live pine needles and leaves are especially bad and can create a thick grey smoke. It is a bad idea to use live stick for a number of other reasons too (the trees want to live!) but the most important is that they burn terribly and create a lot of smoke. You can tell if wood is alive in one of two ways. First, it may be attached to a living tree. Leave it there. It’s alive. Second, if you do find it on the ground, it may still be full of moisture. Try breaking a stick in half. If it breaks easily and cleanly than it is probably dead. If it is hard to break and has stringy strands of wood connected after cracking, than it is probably still wet on the inside.
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  • Your wood is wet: Even if the wood is dead, it can still be soaking wet. Wet or rotten wood creates a lot of smoke.

The best way to keep the smoke to a minimum is to use dead dry wood.