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Keeping fresh-cut firewood on your property year-round is essential to maintain the ability to enjoy a nice campfire any time on a whim. Whether you have recently purchased firewood or have been chopping wood yourself, knowing the proper way to care for the wood can help you get the most out of your materials.

Why Cover Fresh-Cut Firewood?

Covering fresh-cut firewood is highly recommended if you live in an area where it rains or there is significant precipitation year-round. While wood will dry out after becoming wet, it will take much more time and may lead to rotting wood if left too long in dampness.

Covering fresh-cut firewood will not only help to keep the wood dry for burning, but it will also help in the firewood seasoning process itself.

Tips for Covering Fresh-Cut Wood

When you think of covering the wood you have collected for your property or campfire, your best option is often a traditional tarp. An outdoor tarp is designed to withstand weather and natural environments without allowing moisture to seep in and beyond the tarp itself. Use the following tips when handling wood on your own property:

  • Choose an area that is dry, breezy, and easily accessible to place and store your firewood.
  • Avoid placing any piles of wood closer than 20 feet to your home. Wood placed too close to your home can quickly result in pest infestations and additional fire risks.
  • If you are stacking wood next to a building or a shed, be sure to do so a few feet away to provide airflow. Airflow is necessary to help with the drying process of the wood, even if the wood already appears relatively dry and ready to be burned.

If you live in an area that is rife with rain and snowfall each year, you may want to consider using a shed to store your wood. Building your own shed is a way to minimize moisture accumulation while also providing you with plenty of room for airflow and movement. Using a shed can allow you more opportunities to store and season your firewood without the hassle year-round.

What is Seasoned Firewood?

Typically, seasoned firewood is considered any wood that has been dried properly and adequately. On average, firewood requires at least six full months to completely dry before being harvested and burned.

While it is often possible to burn wood prior to six months into the drying process, this may result in less seasoned firewood and more smoky campfires.
Seasoning your firewood can help with burning the wood at a lower temperature while also reducing the amount of smoke the wood gives off. Additionally, firewood that has been adequately seasoned for the appropriate amount of time will burn much longer than firewood that has not been seasoned at all.
If you choose to use unseasoned firewood in your home or with a stovetop or chimney, you will likely experience the buildup of soot and smoke more quickly. A buildup of creosote in the chimney is most commonly the result of burning excessive amounts of unseasoned firewood.

Additionally, using unseasoned firewood with a stovetop can also cause the glass and surrounding sides to blacken and attract soot much faster than when using properly seasoned wood.

Is There Ever a Reason Not to Cover Fresh-Cut Firewood?

In some instances, you may not need to cover your fresh-cut firewood. If you live in a drier climate, it may not be necessary to cover or store your fresh-cut firewood anywhere other than near your campfire.

If you are interested in expediting the drying process of your firewood, you can also opt to leave the wood uncovered. Covering the wood, even just the top of the wood, with a tarp or another cover, can significantly increase the overall drying time needed for the wood itself. If you need your firewood immediately or if you want to speed up the drying time, try removing the cover or tarp you are using, but only if you have dry and predictable weather.

Knowing why it is important to cover fresh-cut firewood can help you prepare your own property and your campfire area. When you are familiar with the importance of covering firewood and how to prevent dampness from accumulating, you can extend the lifespan of all of the firewood you have at your disposal and enjoy optimal fires.

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