What Temperature Does Wood Burn?

Nothing beats the comfort of a roaring fire, but you might have often wondered what temperature does wood burn?

In theory, you could stick a thermometer in there. But we’d like to suggest you probably avoid doing that (for legal reasons, as well as your own safety…).

Instead, we’ve got all the information you could want to know about what temperature wood burns at.

What Temperature Does Wood Burn?

There isn’t a single answer to “What temperature does wood burn?”

The temperature that wood burns will depend on several factors and variables but the main one is usually the type of wood being used.

Different kinds of trees will burn at different temperatures. Meaning that throwing any type of wood into your furnace is not going to be wise.

As a general rule of thumb, the harder the wood, the hotter a fire needs to be for it to burn.

Below, we have a list of the various temperatures different kinds of wood burn.

The temperatures given below are in degrees Fahrenheit. They are also averages rather than absolutes, because, well it’s fire…

  • Victorian Ash – 592°
  • Radiata Pine – 660°
  • Douglas Fir – 662°
  • Western Red Cedar – 669°
  • Redwood – 687°
  • Spruce – 1148°
  • Birch – 1501°
  • Oak – 1652°
  • Beech – 1742°

These are the most commonly used woods to make fire but you may have a local variant which may burn at a different temperature to those listed above.

Factors That Impact How Hot Wood Burns

When picking wood to burn, here are a few factors that might impact the temperature.

Moisture Levels

There are various reasons why wood might have higher water levels. Some woods are just naturally higher in water density, whereas others could simply become soaked due to the environment they’re in, or the wood you’re using hasn’t been thoroughly dried-out.


Did you know that a sponge will burn at a much lower temperature than metal?

Unlike metal, a sponge is very light and airy. Meaning that oxygen is better able to circulate around the object, with less initial energy needed. If you remember anything from your high school science classes, it’s that oxygen is really important in starting and maintaining roaring fires.

Similar to a sponge, a softwood like Cork will burn at much lower temperatures than hardwood such as Oak.


Wood that is tightly packed together, lacking in aeration, will need a higher temperature to burn than a pile of smaller pieces of the same wood.

If you want to lower the temperature needed to get the fire started, spread the wood out to ensure the fire can breathe.

But, if you want it to burn hot, pack it together and keep persisting until it really starts to roar.

The Stages Of Wood Burning

Have you ever wondered how wood burns? What happens at a chemical level? Knowing this can enable you to burn your wood more effectively and build the cosiest type of fire possible.

1. Ignition

The temperature that wood ignites is generally at 40% of the temperature it burns at. So, if you’re burning Oak, which burns at 1652°, you’ll have to ignite it at about 680°.

2. Wood decomposes at high temperatures

The heat rapidly speeds up the woods decompression. At this stage, the water will begin to evaporate.

As many of you know, water boils at 212° (100°C). So when it gets higher than that, it will turn into smoke.

This water vapor combined with various other chemicals within the wood gives you smoke. Be careful here, especially when burning new woods indoors in enclosed spaces.

Just be sure to keep your distance and handle the fire with care.

3. Burning Furnace

At this stage, you should have a roaring fire. This is where your wood is most beneficial and should help to prolong the heat and the glow.

The bright flames will make it very clear when your wood has reached this stage of burning.

4. Ash

As the fire burns, it will use up the energy stored within the wood. In the end, you’ll be left with a pile of ash by the time all this energy has been used.

At first, the ash may be hot. But it will cool over time and be safe to clean up. We would generally recommend that you leave any clean up until the next day, just to be sure.

Is Hardwood All There Is?

You might think that you should only burn hardwood. After all, that kind of wood burns at the hottest temperatures.

However, even though hardwood is vital for keeping the fire going, it’s not much use at all when it comes to starting the fire.

For a fire to begin, you will need to use some kind of softer wood, usually in the form of kindling.

Once the kindling or softer wood has ignited and got the fire hot enough to start, the hardwood can be used to keep it at a high temperature over a longer period of time.

As you can now see, there is no single answer to the question, “What temperature does wood burn?”

If we’re talking about Ash, only 592F°. But if you need something hard like Beech, it burns at about 1742F°.

We hope this helps you build the best fire possible, whether it’s round the campfire or to keep you warm through the bitter winter months. For everything else home heating, stick with CosyWarmer.com