Steam is injected to the combustion tip to suppress smoke. Once the flame is smokeless, excess steam makes more noise, wastes energy, and may force the combustion back down the tip. The amount of steam required depends on relief gas discharge rate, gas composition, and wind speed; therefore excess steam is normal. The most effective method of reducing steam consumption is to control the rate based on flame quality or on relief gas flow and composition. Flares in producing areas often use natural gas instead of steam for smoke suppression.