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I'm not talking about the one caused by grease, but the one that occurs spontaneously. A little puff that sends thousands of sparks around.

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    This is a constructive subjective question. I hope answers use SE's hints, and provide reasonably long, not short, answers that explain “why” and “how” in a constructive, fair, and impartial tone, sharing experiences over opinions and backing up any opinion with facts and references. – Andrew Leach Dec 30 '14 at 7:24
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I would call it "crackling"...           

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    I thought crackling was the sound a fire makes. – Roaring Fish Dec 30 '14 at 8:20
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Wow... No two dictionaries have the same definitions for this, but you could use flare, or flare-up or "sudden flare". (Or, "little explosion")

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There is quite a bit of scope here for using onomatopoeic words like snap, bang, pop, crack and the like, particularly if you double up the descriptive verbs to make the intended meaning clear:

The bonfire sparked and popped, and the damp logs that lay uppermost began to steam.

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