Question: Re: How to start a wood fire I enjoyed reading your story on how to start a fire. I'm glad there are many fellow pyro brothers amongst us. My question is, how old can wood get before you can no longer burn it well? I moved into a house that had some old firewood. Some of the wood even has fungus growing on it. How long, on average, should one keep cut wood before it becomes useless in a fireplace? Answer: Good question....depends on the species and the conditions. In general, if a large part or the log becomes punky (rotted)....over 30% or so, then it might be time to toss it into the forest to become complete compost! In my experience with oak here in NJ, it's about three years if the wood is left outside and gets wet and then dry. If the wood is stored in a woodshed it might last longer. Wood that is too dry may burn too fast. Also, rotted wood can pick up more insects and other critters.