How Long Does It Take Firewood To Dry After Rain?

When I go camping, there’s nothing more relaxing for me than sitting around a campfire with my family and friends. If you’re the same and your firewood has been rained on, you’ll want to ensure the wood is dry before using it. 

But how long does it take firewood to dry after it has been rained on?

It takes seasoned takes firewood between 1 day and a week to dry after rain. This depends on how saturated the wood is, the drying conditions (e.g. warm and sunny vs cold and wet conditions) and how dense the wood is. 

You can speed up the drying process by ensuring adequate airflow around it, covering it with a tarp and placing it in direct sunlight or near a heat source. 

ConditionsTime To Dry Out
Rained on seasoned wood in dry and windy conditions1-2 days
Rained on seasoned wood in wet and cold conditions1 week
Green wood stored in dry conditions6 months
Green wood stored in humid, dark or cold conditions2 years

If your firewood was caught in a rainstorm, there’s no reason to panic. Checking how wet it is and drying it out in optimal conditions can make it usable in next to no time.   

How To Check How Wet Your Firewood Is

If your firewood has been out in the rain, you can usually gauge how wet it is by how long it’s been exposed and how heavy the rain was. 

However, burning firewood that is too wet can be ineffective and produce a lot of smoke so it’s better to use an accurate method: 

Use a Wood Moisture Meter

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This is the most accurate way of checking how wet your firewood is and if you normally bring firewood when camping, it’s worth investing in a wood moisture meter. 

Wood moisture meters aren’t expensive and you can pick one up for less than $20 online or at an outdoor store. This Wood Moisture Meter from Amazon has thousands of excellent reviews, has a digital display and is compact enough for camping. 

Using a wood moisture meter is easy: 

1. Turn the meter on and select the type of wood you have on the screen.

2. Hold the meter against a piece of wood for a few seconds. 

3. The meter will display a moisture content reading as a percentage. 15% or below means that it will burn very well but 20% moisture will still give you a decent fire. If it reads above 25%, you should dry it out before using it. 

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Test a Piece of Wood

If you don’t have a wood moisture meter with you, test a single piece of wood on the fire. If it struggles to ignite, creates a lot of smoke and makes a hissing sound as the water inside evaporates, it’s too wet to use. 

Also, if the wood has large, visible cracks and looks dull and grayish, it’s probably dry. Dry wood also makes a hollow sound when dropped or tapped and is lighter than wet wood. 

How To Dry Wet Firewood Fast After Rain

If your firewood is just slightly damp and was out in a light drizzle, you can normally use it without any issues. However, anything more than this and you should allow the firewood to dry out completely before using it. 

Below is how to dry wet wood quickly after rain: 

Remove The Bark and Cut The Wood Into Smaller Pieces

If your firewood has bark, removing it can speed up the drying process because the bark is less porous than the underlying wood. 

Also, cutting it into smaller pieces gives a larger surface area to speed up the drying process. 

Stack It On a Raised Platform To Ensure Optimal Airflow

Optimal airflow is vital for wet wood to dry. A slatted pallet makes a great raised platform for adequate airflow but if you’re camping and don’t have one, you can make a platform with a few long pieces of wood. 

If you have a lot of wood to dry, you can create more airflow by stacking each wood layer in a different direction and leaving spaces between each piece. 

Cover The Firewood With a Tarp 

When trying to dry out wet firewood the last thing you need is for it to get rained on again. You can prevent this by covering it with a durable and waterproof tarp like this heavy-duty one from Amazon

That said, make sure you keep the sides of your wood stack open so that there’s plenty of air circulating around the wood because seasoned firewood can easily reabsorb moisture from the surrounding air. 

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Place The Wood Near a Heat Source

This step is not essential but if you already have a fire going, stack the wet wood close to it so the moisture evaporates faster. 

I find that leaving rained on firewood in direct sunlight for a day or 2 can also dry it out quickly. 

Use a Firewood Kiln

Firewood kilns are normally used by firewood suppliers and are very expensive to make. However, if you go through a lot of firewood, it may be worth making your own homemade one so you can have seasoned wood year-round. 

The video below explains how to make a DIY one: 

What Happens If You Burn Wood That Is Too Wet?

If you burn wood that is too wet, it will be difficult to ignite, produce a lot of smoke and won’t produce much heat due to incomplete combustion. You’ll also need to use more wood for the same effect. 

This is because the wood needs much more heat energy to burn off the excess moisture in it, resulting in steam. 

If you’re using green wood (that has high moisture content), it will leave sticky creosote deposits in your wood stove or campfire location.  

How Long Does Wet Wood Need To Dry Before Burning It?

If you have seasoned wood that was rained on, it can take between 1 day and a week before it dries out again and you can use it. 

How long it takes your wet firewood to dry depends on various factors, such as: 

  • How drenched the wood is 
  • The drying conditions
  • Airflow around the wood
  • The wood density (e.g., dense wood like beech or oak takes longer to dry than poplar)

Here is a useful table explaining how long wet firewood takes to dry out:  

ConditionsTime To Dry Out
Rained on seasoned wood in dry and windy conditions1-2 days
Rained on seasoned wood in wet and cold conditions1 week
Green wood stored in dry conditions6 months
Green wood stored in humid, dark or cold conditions2 years