Cedar gives off more smoke than many other woods. When using in a stove, this produces creosote, clogging chimneys and making a dangerous fire hazard. Campfires using cedar are very smokey and unpleasant.
British Thermal Units
British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the measure of heat output used for rating firewood. Falling into the lower end of heat output, cedars average 17.5 million BTUs per cord. When compared with ash at 25.9 million BTUs and oak at 21 million BTUs, cedar falls short of a prime choice for firewood.
As a softwood, cedar is a pulpier and less dense firewood. Hardwoods are better choices for firewood. If cedar is going to be used, use it to start the fire, then use hardwoods to sustain the burn.
During the seasoning process, when firewood is stacked and let out for a year to dry, cedar becomes brittle and lightweight. Drier wood such as cedar is poor quality for long and consistent burns.
Cedar is a flash fuel and not a good firewood. Leave the cedar for smoking fish, building closets and paneling walls, and find a higher quality hardwood for a fire.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.