The combustion mechanism of bio-oil derived from wood fast pyrolysis was investigated by thermogravimetric analysis coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (TG–FTIR) in flowing air. The results show that the combustion process of bio-oil consists of two main consecutive stages at a low heating rate. The combustion reaction becomes more and more intense from the first to the second stage. The release of volatiles occurs mainly at 80～200 °C and 350～500°C, and the gaseous products in each stage are different. The main products in the first stage are H2O with a few low molecule weight compounds, such as methanol, formic acid, etc. In the second stage, some new volatiles such as CO2, CO and CH4, etc. are present. Among the above volatiles, CO2 is the dominant gaseous product in the whole combustion process. The concentrations of CO2 and CO keep increasing, and reach the maximum at about 450 °C. Over 570°C, there are few products released at the end of the combustion process.