Is White Pine Good Firewood?

White pine (Pinus strobus) is the fastest-growing pine species in North America. It is also an important species, contributing a lot of ecological value to any area it grows.

But is white pine good firewood?

White pine is low-quality firewood to be used as firewood. The highest BTU white pine creates is on the lower end of 16.5 million per cord, while it creates a lot of sparks and very few coals. The best thing about white pine is that it makes great kindling, getting any fire started very quickly.

is white pine good as firewood

What Are The Varieties Of White Pine Wood?

Though it is native to eastern America, white pine has a few varieties that differ based on where they grow. Their environments slightly change the BTU of each white pine variety, but only by a minuscule amount.

Those varieties are:

  • North white pine
  • Western white pine
  • Eastern white pine

What Are The Physical Characteristics Of White Pine Wood?

NameWhite Pine  
Heat per cord (Million BTUs)15.2 – 16.5
Weight dry (lbs per cord)2387 – 2210
Weight green (lbs per cord)2975 – 3060
Seasoning time6 – 12 months
Resin/ Sap ContentHigh
Splitting DifficultyEasy
Coal ProductionPoor
Creosote Build-upLittle

Is it To Split?

White pine is fairly easy to split so long as you don’t mind getting messy. Pine sap is a sticky substance that clings to anything that it comes into contact with.

Typically, green wood is easier to split than seasoned wood as it is more willing to break apart. However, white pine is easier to split after being seasoned, once some of its sap dries up and cracks start to form through the logs.

Sap Content

Unfortunately, white pine follows in the general pine trend of being full of sap.

Sappy firewood is not only difficult to work with, but it also causes safety issues when burning it in an indoor fireplace. Firewoods that have less sap like walnut are less likely to create creosote and are generally better indoor firewoods.

The high sap also makes the wood burn aggressively and throw out sparks, which is not a good thing if you have an open fireplace.

How Does It Smell?

Pine is notoriously pleasant smelling, bringing the scent of the forest indoors. White pine is just as good smelling, but it has a slightly different fragrance when burnt.

The bark of white pine has a vanilla hint to it which is translated when burnt. It is not sweet-smelling like that of cherry or tulipwood but rather like baked cookies.

Moisture Levels

The problem with white pine doesn’t really lay in its moisture content. Pine has a fairly low moisture content even though it does smoke a moderate amount.

White pine grows very quickly and makes full use of the moisture that it does have, so its moisture levels are low even for pine wood when first cut down, but not as low as lodgepole pine has.

Heat Output and Efficiency of White Pine

Generating a BTU of 15.2 – 16.5 depending on where it is grown, white pine is one of the worst burning pine firewoods. Western white pine has the highest BTU of 16.5, but even that is a lower heat than most firs.

What makes white pine even worse is the speed at which it burns. The very low heat only lasts for a short while, rendering it very low-quality firewood.

Fire Characteristics Of White Pine

So, what does white pine burn like?

Creosote build-up

If white pine is burned exclusively, then creosote would be a problem. However, if used as a backup wood or as kindling, it does not create much of a problem.

Still, the sap content of white pine is very high and will create more creosote than premium hardwoods when burnt.

If you maintain a fire that is made entirely of white pine firewood, then that creosote will build up as quickly as any other pine.

Amount Of Smoke

White pine does produce a medium amount of smoke due to its resin content.

Though if you mix white pine with other long burning woods like oak, you will notice a moderate amount of smoke. It will not be as bad as the smoke that sugar maple creates but it will be present.

Does It Produce Coals?

Pine struggles to produce many coals as a species anyway but white pine creates practically no coals at all. This is part of the reason that it does not burn for long as there is no additional fuel to help the fire burn.

Instead, white pine burns to ash, making a lot finer white ash than most other pine woods.

Is It Okay To Burn White Pine In A Fireplace?

Usually, pine should not be burnt in a fireplace. White pine generates such little heat and does not maintain a lasting fire so the best use for it would be campfires.

It is safe to burn in a fireplace as long as you do not use white pine as your main source of fuel.

If you only use white pine as firewood in your fireplace then you will find yourself going through an obscene amount of wood. Likewise, the longer you burn white pine, the more creosote it will produce.

Use white pine sparingly or as kindling and mix in better hardwoods like hackberry or black locust.

How Long To Season White Pine Wood?

White pine has just as long seasoning time as most other pine varieties. It is also just as prone to rotting as other pine so will need to be stored adequately.

Even though white pine will season at a similar rate to poplar, even after reaching the desired moisture content of 20%, it will not be as good as firewood.

Pros And Cons Of Using White Pine as Firewood

White pine has a lot of disadvantages, but it also has some advantages.


  • Easy preparation
  • Low moisture levels
  • Good kindling


  • High sap content
  • Short burning life
  • Low BTU
  • Prone to creating creosote

How Does White Pine Compare To Other Firewood?

When put against other pine varieties, white pine does not hold up. It is the worst pine firewood available, producing a very ineffective fire that dies quickly.

However, it holds just as much sap as any other pine and so can be dangerous if used in large quantities.

For a longer-lasting and more efficient heat source, use hardwood such as beech or maple. They will be more worth the money and will heat your home without a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is The Best Variety Of Pine To Burn?

Yellow pine is the variety of pine with the greatest BTU, although it is not always available.

Which Firewood Burns The Longest?

Generally, the denser a wood, the longer it will burn. Hardwoods such as maple, oak, and locust varieties are some of the longest burning firewood types.


The only advantage of white pine is that it makes excellent kindling, but it does not burn for long enough to be an effective source of heat. It is best used sparingly or when mixed with hardwoods to get a hot fire started quickly.

Recommended reading:

Scroll to Top