Southern California Firewood Choices

by Tim
(San Diego, California)

Question


We just bought a vacation home in Idyllwild California (southern California) and it has an airtight stove.

I was wondering what type of available firewood is best to buy?

I have talked with some sellers and they are offering Avocado, Eucalyptus, citrus (orange), Cedar, and Oak. Pricing starting with Avaocado at $180, Eucalyptus at $280 a face cord to Oak at $600 a full cord.

Answer

Tim,

Thanks for your question and congratulations on your vacation home purchase!

Here are my thoughts on the various types of firewood you have listed.

Avocado Firewood - There's nothing wrong with burning avocado firewood. Although it probably doesn't burn as hot or as long as Oak, I think you would be happy with your choice. Since southern California has a lot of avocado groves the wood should be pretty common which will help reduce the price.

Cedar Firewood - Cedar firewood contains a lot of oil and is prone to sparking and popping a lot. I really like cedar when used as kindling, but I don't necessarily like to burn it as a stand alone fuel. If you want to buy some for kindling that would be fine since it's one of the best types of kindling you can find, but I don't think I would by cedar firewood to heat my home with.

Citrus/Orange Firewood - Firewood from an orange tree is not as common as the other firewood types you have listed but that doesn't mean it's not a good firewood choice. A lot of suppliers do not have access to orange firewood unless a developer clears out a large section of old trees. Citrus/Orange firewood burns clean and hot and does not spark very much. Although a lot of people feel Oak is better, orange would be a great choice.

Eucalyptus Firewood - Eucalyptus is known for burning very hot. In fact, some people avoid using it in a wood stove because they're worried they will damage the stove from the intense heat. The wood is very hard to split. For best results I would recommend mixing it in with other firewood types as opposed to burning it alone.

Oak Firewood - Oak is one of the most popular firewood options around and many people feel it's the number one firewood choice. It burns long, hot and produces great coals so it's easy to restart a fire the next morning. Oak takes a long time to fully season. I like to season Oak for 2 years before using it, however in a warmer climate like southern California it might not take as long. Overall oak is a great firewood and I don't think you will be disappointed.

No matter what firewood you choose to burn, make sure the wood is dry or "seasoned." Burning wet firewood is not only frustrating because it will just smolder, it can create dangerous creosote deposits in your chimney.

With the choices provided and depending on your budget I would probably choose either the Oak or the Avocado firewood.

I hope this helps,

Nick
Firewood For Life

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