How to Prevent Bonfires from Smoking

Brad LackeyFire Damage, Fire Damage Prevention

Fire damage restoration with ServiceMaster by RC

Bonfires are a great way to keep the fun going at night while spending time with friends and family. But it can be annoying and even dangerous to breathe in that thick smoke wafting up from the flames. While there’s no way to completely prevent it as it’s natural for fires to produce some amount of smoke when burning, there are ways to minimize it.

The biggest reason why bonfires smoke is due to burning improper materials and/or an improper setup. Mistakes such as using wet firewood and inefficient air flow are also common problems.

Here are some more tips on how to prevent bonfires from smoking:

  1. Use dry firewood

Due to the moisture within the wood, wet firewood can be problematic for bonfires, similar to putting low-quality fuel in your car. While all firewood has at least some degree of moisture, it should be minimal.

If you choose to purchase firewood, it is recommended to use kiln dried wood. If you have any wood leftover after the bonfire, keep it in the garage or shed to protect it from the rain.

  1. Don’t use greenwood

Green wood doesn’t necessarily mean the wood is green, but rather, it was recently cut. As soon as it’s chopped, it usually contains more moisture, which produces more smoke when burned. Before throwing it in the bonfire, allow the water to evaporate first or just use kiln dried firewood.

  1. Don’t burn debris

Just because some things are combustible, doesn’t mean they have a clean burn. To prevent the bonfire from smoking, avoid the following:

  • Pine straw
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Styrofoam or plastic plates and cups

Stick with the dry firewood to keep any smoke to a minimum.

  1. Allow proper air flow

When arranging your firewood, position the logs to allow for efficient air flow so the fire can breathe. This allows for better combustion as fires only require heat, oxygen, and fuel. Allowing more oxygen to the fire will also allow it to burn hotter.

To allow for the best air flow, position the firewood like a square shape and start the kindle at the bottom, commonly referred to as the Lincoln log style.

This technique is also great to use on fire pits.

  1. Don’t fuel too quickly

If you throw too much wood or gas into the fire too quickly, the fire will have a hard time burning it and produce more smoke as a result. Make sure to gradually build it up, starting with a few small pieces to allow for a cleaner burn and produce less smoke.

How to Build the Perfect Campfire

If you’re completely lost on where to start when building a campfire, these tips can be useful to use the right amount of firewood and fuel while building it at the perfect spot to keep smoking to a minimum.

First dig a hole in the ground to put your wood, about a few inches deep just below the surface. Then surround the hole with rocks, but you’ll need to know from which direction the wind is blowing so you can leave a small gap to allow the air to easily reach the firewood when it’s burning.

Place a large and tall rock on the opposite side to allow any smoke to hit it like a wall. Smoke is also naturally attracted to objects, so the rock will absorb it, keeping it in one spot.

Use a Portable Fire Pit

For campers who simply don’t want to deal with campfires, fire pits that don’t produce any smoke can be used. As long as you use right firewood, you can enjoy a comfortable fire without having to breathe in smoke and even enjoy some cooked food. Fire pits are great for roasting marshmallows, hot dogs, hamburgers and much more.

The Importance of Preventing Campfire Smoke

  1. Health issues

Aside from being a nuisance, smoke is toxic for everyone, including plants and pets, and it leaves behind a bad odor. Campfire smoke contains each of the following:

  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Dangerous particles

For those with bronchitis, asthma or other respiratory issues, their symptoms become much worse and it can be difficult for them to recover.

  1. Environmental damage

Just like car exhaust, smoke from fires is very harmful to the environment. Especially when combined with toxins from other campfires, the impact can be twice as harmful. Over time, the smoke can also accumulate, forming a haze in the area, affecting nearby trees and wildlife.

Just be sure to follow the tips above to keep a safe and clean environment.

Smoke Damage Restoration

One of the biggest impacts campfire smoke can have on homeowners is leaving a strong residue on the exterior part of their home. The problem can even be worse if the windows are left open and the smoke odor permeates throughout each room. Once the smoke odor settles into the building materials, only professional cleaners are able to remove it.

ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors is available in the Fort Wayne, IN area to provide fire and smoke damage restoration services for homes and buildings of all types. As fires are common during the summer and fall months due to outdoor grilling and campfire accidents, our professionals will respond right away to remove smoke and soot residue from the affected surfaces to prevent permanent damage.

Odor Removal

For porous materials like drywall, insulation or wood flooring that might have absorbed too much smoke, they can remove them and install replacements. They will also address any strong odor left behind from the smoke as home remedies won’t be enough to mask it.

ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors uses advanced deodorizing technology like ozone and hydroxyl equipment to pull odors from the surrounding walls, floors, and air spaces, penetrating the particles and eliminating them from within. If needed, our professionals also work with insurance agencies if a claim was filed for additional peace of mind.

Contact Us

Whether you need full fire damage restoration or the smoke residue from your bonfire removed from your home, ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors is available in the Fort Wayne, IN area at (260) 420-1502 to respond to your call.