At What Temperature Does Wood Ignite?

Not all flammable materials are the same. Some can start to ignite at a lower temperature, while some take a considerably higher amount of heat.

So, what’s the case with wood? At what temperature does wood ignite?

Wood will start to ignite at 250 to 300 degrees Celsius. In other words, you will see wood catch fire when the temperature is anywhere from 482 degrees to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, is the ignition temperature of different types of wood the same? Also, at what temperature does wood catch fire immediately?

You will find all the answers below!

What Temperature Does Wood Ignite

At What Temperature Does Wood Ignite or Burn?

The ignition or burning temperature of wood varies from one to another. But in general, you can expect to see wood catch fire almost immediately when the temperature is 700 degrees Fahrenheit or 371 degrees Celsius.

When the temperature is 450 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 232 to 260 degrees Celsius, the wood starts to gradually char. But it will eventually ignite after charring for a while. It can take several hours, depending on the type of wood.

Wondering what’s going on with this specific ignition temperature of wood?

The “Pyrophoric Carbon” starts forming when the wood is slowly charring. After a while, it absorbs and combines rapidly with oxygen, creating a fire.

You should note that the ignition temperature of paper is not the same as wood. Yes, even though the paper is made of wood pulp, it has a different combustion temperature.

Most Common Types of Wood and Their Ignition Temperature

To get a precise idea regarding what temperature does wood combusts, you need to consider its type. So, here’s a list of the common kinds with their ignition temperature –

Wood TypeIgnition TemperatureIgnition Time
Beech370 to 503 degrees Celsius or 698 to 937 degrees Fahrenheit39 to 46 seconds
Cherry433 to 543 degrees Celsius or 811 to 1009 degrees Fahrenheit37 to 54 seconds
Pine433 to 558 degrees Celsius or 811 to 1036 degrees Fahrenheit27 to 61 seconds
Oak453 to 511 degrees Celsius or 847 to 951 degrees Fahrenheit57 to 119 seconds
Maple393 to 491 degrees Celsius or 739 to 915 degrees Fahrenheit56 to 87 seconds
Ash346 to 487 degrees Celsius or 654 to 908 degrees Fahrenheit23 to 59 seconds

Factors that Affect the Ignition Temperature of Wood

As you can see, the ignition temperature of the wood varies from one to another. But the type is not the only factor that affects the temperature at which the wood burns. There are others too. Take a look –

Factors that Affect the Ignition Temperature of Wood

Moisture Content

A piece of wood that’s full of moisture will take longer and more heat to ignite. The higher amount of heat will basically vaporize the water. Plus, the wood will start to burn once there’s no more moisture content.

Size and Shape of the Wood Pieces

The size and shape affect the ignition time and temperature of the wood pieces.

Large-sized pieces will take more heat and time to start burning. When it comes to the form, the thicker the wood, the higher and longer it takes to make them ignite.


Just like the shape and size, the density plays a role in the ignition temperature of the wood. Dense wood takes longer and requires more heat to burn.

Age of the Wood

You will notice aged wood burning quickly and with less intense heat than non-aged wood. That is because old pieces of wood are dryer than others.

Heating Source

The heating source also dictates the ignition temperature and time of the wood pieces. For example, you will see different results when trying to burn a piece with gas and fuel.

Oxygen Availability

To sustain the combustion, fire requires oxygen. So, it goes without saying that the wood will need less heat and a shorter time when abundant oxygen is around.

A Few Safety Precautions When Burning Wood

Knowing the ignition temperature is not enough. If you want to be safe when trying to get the wood to ignite, you must keep these factors in mind –

Keep Your Working Area Clear

Before starting the fire, make sure that the area is clear of flammable objects. Do not keep any of these near the wood –

  • Paper
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Clothing items

Check Wood Toxicity

Some types of wood may exhaust toxic fumes when burned. Examples of these kinds of wood are –

  • Brazilian Peppertree
  • Poison sumac
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak

Do Not Try to Burn Wet Wood

It’s always a good idea to select dry wood. Wet pieces of wood produce more smoke. This smoke can create a creosote buildup, which can turn into a fire hazard. To avoid this, pick seasoned wood.

Wear Protective Gears

No matter what, you should prioritize your safety when trying to burn wood. Here’s the list of things that you should wear –

  • Finger gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Closed toe shoes

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Make sure that the fireplace has access to air. It will ensure that the combustion is efficient and controllable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Do Different Types of Wood Have Different Ignition Temperatures?

The density, moisture content, size, and shape of each type of wood are different. That’s why different kinds of wood have different ignition temperatures.

2. What Role Do Accelerants Play in Lowering the Ignition Temperature of Wood?

As the name suggests, accelerants can speed up ignition time. They increase the rate of combustion, which allows the wood to get more heat. As a result, with accelerants, the wood requires a lower-than-usual temperature to ignite.

Final Words

So, at what temperature does wood ignite again?

In general, wood will start to ignite at anywhere from 250 to 300 degrees Celsius. That’s within the 482 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit range.

But depending on the type of wood, it can take higher temperatures for it to start burning. Also, as you know, there are other factors to consider as well.

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