Why You Shouldn’t Burn Bark

Bark falls off wood when cutting, splitting or all around moving it, and all that ends up making it accumulate.

Personally i think burning bark is generally a bad idea, although there are a couple of other things you can try using it for instead.

More of a time waste

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with burning bark, it’s just that it gives off little heat when compared to how much time it takes to collect it.

Some people say it produces too much creosote, but that shouldn’t really happen if it is dry enough; i mean, there’s always some bark left on the regular firewood we burn in fireplaces, wood stoves?

A wood round being split with a help of a wedge; in the background, you can see a lot of bark in result of splitting.
All this bark sure looks tasty, but I wouldn’t bother.

Firewood” by Marvin Smith is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Another reason why bark should not be burnt, at least in my opinion, is that it leaves more ash and makes more smoke. It’s also quite messy to deal with, which all will only increase the time you’ll be dealing with it.

Better uses of it

Instead of using the bark purely as a fuel source, use it for kindling as it lights up fairly easily.

Wood bark can be used in loads of other instances that don’t involve any burning at all like using it as mulch, covering driveway holes or as compost material.

Bark reduces the grass growth, so if there’s a lot of it where you split or cut your firewood, you might as well leave it be.

Similar Posts


  1. Been burning wood for 45 years in Oregon, It takes no time to collect bark since it comes with the logs you cut, then it just falls off the log when splitting it Bark burns much hotter than the wood species it comes off of. Any way that’s my experience

    1. That’s interesting – i never found the bark burning any more hotter than the actual wood in my stove…

      Any way, i wouldn’t be using it that much more even if that was the case, as i find all that collecting a time waste (but that’s just me).

    2. Yup! Douglas Fir bark is thick and heavy, and I wonder about creosote? I always try to have a hot fire as my stove chimney has two 90degree bends. So what about creosote and bark????

    3. Agreed. It’s easy to harvest bark from seasoned wood. So much of it falls away when handling the wood after it’s been in the rack for a couple years. I find it gives off a lot of heat. I use my ash in my garden. The wood has little mineral content when compared to the bark.

  2. here are some facts
    Douglas fir wood: 8438-9050 btu’s
    Douglas fir bark: 9800-10,100 btu’s
    Western hemlock wood: 8000-8600 btu’s
    Western hemlock bark: 8900-9400 btu’s
    Western redcedar wood: 9700 btu’s
    Western redcedar bark: 8700 btu’s

  3. I burn the bark and have no trouble in collecting it. I find it easier to start and burns a little warmer for me. I have an 111 year old farmhouse that doesn’t have central heat and air. We have a radiating heat wood stove with electric heaters plugged in downstairs. Upstairs we have electric mattress pads and one electric heater in the bathroom. I have my 81 year old mother here living with me and need to keep it as warm as I can. I put down two logs for a base in the morning and then keep a basket of bark to burn all day. When my husband comes home, he burns the logs. I do have to say that sometimes it smokes a little but not all the time. I prefer it to logs all the time. I rake up the smallest pieces and put it in a pile for my garden in the spring. Still trying to figure out how to use the ashes. I keep a pile going in the chicken pen for them to dust themselves but you can only use so much.

    1. I use my multifuel fire ashes mixed roughly 1 == 4 with my dried + riddled compost . it`s magic for bedding plants + seed trays . when I`m finished with it I lob it back in to the compost bin . no aggro no hassle

  4. Easy to collect and makes an awesome fire starter. Seems to burn super hot.and leaves awesome coal red hot coal bed.

  5. I collect all of the bark and chips from processing log loads to fire wood nothing goes to waste. I made a chicken wire storage bin for it and the bark and wood scrap dry and season perfectly for kindling and the bigger pieces of bark dry well …now reclaiming the saw dust chips is a little bit more of a pain it can be done but I normally won’t take the effort into burning those…as the make for better uses as oil dry in the garage or landscape an garden additive with better results…👍

  6. Now this is how a forum is supposed to…FORUM!
    Great input and info from all the posts. I too have been burning Oregon wood in South Wasco County for years and never stop learning. As far as “To Bark or not to Bark”…it’s messy, it’s there, it’s fuel. The choice is yours.

  7. Looking at buying a truck load of Doug Fir slabs from a mill and we were wondering if dealing with the bark would be an issue. This was helpful.

  8. I have been burning wood on my homestead a few years. But got my advice from an old timer with decades of firewood burning in Alaska and the Oregon Coastal range.
    Here goes… Green wood will get you creosote build up, better to burn seasoned wood. Always slap your “cold” stove pipe before you start a fire. Knocks down loose creosote. Start your fire and let it burn real hot for the first half hour. It will help you burn off any residual creosote in the pipe or chimney.
    Never damper down your fire for the “all the night burn” it will build up creosote quickly. Just let you fire burn itself out at a modest setting, and just get up early that’s what country folks do. Lastly, Burning bark does create more BTU’s which burns hot and create more ash, put it in your garden, your vegetables will return the favor.
    I have easy access to my stove pipe and inspect it annually in the last five years maybe and 1/8″ build up and cleaned it once. Good luck.

  9. Have an epa II certified insert sealed controlled air with air reburn injection at the top. Triple walled stainless pipe seems to keep the inner pipe hot enough so I have rarely found much to clean over the last 15 years. The ember screen at the top of the pipe does clog where the exhaust hits the cold air and has to be cleaned once a season. A thermostatically controlled forced air heatilator system piped into my central heating system keeps the entire 2 story house warm and keeps the family room from overheating. My insurance company paid for most of this system when my old cheap tract home insert caught the top of my wood chimney chase on fire. Incidentally, my daughter was burning some bark when that happened. I burn now only 3 weeks of days now for 3 reasons: so many “no burn” days now, decent wood is much more expensive now and I used to get it free except for having to cut and haul it myself and to exchange a little work on the farm, too many warmer days in recent years. If I start a fire when it’s over 50 outside it overheats the house with the slowest fire I can keep going in this stove which requires a hot burn to work properly.

  10. Very helpful thread! I was told to discard bark and not burn it due to increasing creosote build up. Reading this tells me that’s not true and bark is a good fire start. Today, the new man in my life said, “Who said that? It burns hotter is what I’ve always believed.” Most what I’ve read here backs him up. I’ll now stop wasting good seasoned bark and money on fire starts. Thanks for setting me straight.

  11. I’ll burn most all woods and bark
    Because it keeps me warm. ha ha

    I do know you can shave cedar bark into a smaller piles and it’s a great starting resource in the wild …

  12. Down here in central foothills in California. We burn oak. And yeah, bark builds up. Burns hotter, starts fast, when dry it doesn’t make any creosote, makes a great bed of coals, and…and, well, don’t roses like a little ash now and then?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *