I do believe Mother Nature created a new, fire-retardant breed of spruce tree. Last winter, on the advice of a helicopter pilot friend of mine, three trees he recommended be cut found their way either into our wood stove or into our woodshed. Two of them were spruce and one of them was birch. To date, these two kinds of trees do very well heating our house.
The cheery crackle you hear in your fireplace or woodstove is the sap taking off with little explosions. That's one reason forest fires are SO dangerous. You get whole trees literally exploding and showering sparks everywhere.
This tree, like I said, cut way last year, some of it we tried to burn then, but it was just too wet. The rest went into the woodshed to dry out for the summer. Now, granted, last summer wasn't exactly hot or even dry for that matter, but in the woodshed nothing was out in the weather. Never before did we have an issue of the wood not drying out...until now.
Not only was the entire length of that tree a real B***CH to split, but it was, of all things still wet this winter. And it wasn't wet with sap either. Not once that I recall did it go snap crackle pop. Now understand, this was a rather healthy tree, a nice big Christmas tree type tree. Generally, we avoid this kind of tree because it usually has lots of branches and this one was no different. The issue was how just plain water-wet it was. Heaven forbid we tried to heat the house with only that wood. Guaranteed the stove would go out (as happened last night).
This morning we went out and split up this gnarly stump we've been avoiding for the last couple years because it's so knotty, but it was dry, I mean really dry, and with that we got some heat in the house - no we weren't freezing in here, but it was rather cooler than comfortable for inside. I also took those last pieces of 'that tree' and split them up into much smaller pieces. Then we went out and dropped a small birch and a smaller spruce (of the regular kind) which we split and brought in. Now mind you, both the birch and the spruce are green but finally the house is getting hot. The best part is 'that tree' is now all burned up. We spent most of the afternoon with the flue wide open so that soggy wood would burn up and be gone. And believe me, it had to be wide open just to keep it burning.