I have come full circle on this. I used to soak my chips then realized that it should not matter. Once the little bit of moisture that soaked into the wood steamed out they would be in the same condition, dry. I stopped soaking the chips (i use a gas GOSM) and started to get flash fires in my chips. So I am going to go back to soaking and this why. I believe that soaking creates a buffer zone when you are getting your smoker to temp. I usually turn it up to get the smoke rolling and the temp right then turn it down when I add the meat. The elevated temp also helps to hit the desired temp after you open the door and add a big piece of cold meat. Even if I am wrong and soaking does not stop flare ups (does not add smoke either) it certainly does not hurt so might as well go for it. W/ that said I am not soaking the additional chips I add thru out the smoking process since my temp is set and I already have smoldering chips to start the new batch. I may be full of it but it does seem to work for me but when i am lazy or in a hurry I do not soak them. You can smell the difference when you have FIRE and I just pour some beer on it and shut the door. all is good with beer. beer+smoke+laptop+wireless=rambling posts.......I smell fire!