Lighting a fire contributes to smoke-caused air pollution. Before resorting to burning:
- Recycle or drop off materials at a collection facility.
- Compost leaves and clippings.
- Hire a tree trimming company to dispose of land clearing debris.
If you are going to light a fire, here are some important ways you can help keep the air clear:
- Check the venting condition and burn only during good conditions (clear skies).
- Light a quick burning and hot fire creates a minimum of smoke.
- Don't starve the fire of oxygen.
- Don't burn wet material—make sure the material has been dried for at least six months.
- Don’t burn prohibited materials—waste like garbage, plastic, painted wood can release toxic chemicals and is illegal to burn.
Heating Your Home by Fire
When you heat your home by burning, there are a number of ways to reduce the smoke created:
- Prepare the wood properly by:
- Drying it for at least six months and keeping it sheltered. (Burning wet wood creates smoke, and burning wood with less than 20% moisture content wastes heat in evaporating the water.)
- Split pieces to a maximum of 10-15 cm in size. This maximizes the surface burn area and increases efficiency.
- Only use paper and dry kindling for starting fires.
- Do not burn wet, green, painted, or pressure treated wood. Never burn waste like garbage, plastic or painted wood. It can release toxic chemicals and is illegal to burn.
- When shopping for a wood stove look for a stove design that allows for more complete combustion. These features include insulated baffles, heated primary and secondary air, firebox insulation, and advanced designs that promote secondary combustion. In B.C, all new wood stoves and inserts sold must meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) emission standards. These emission standards also apply to wood furnaces and boilers and pellet-fueled appliances.
- Ensure your stove is properly installed, operated within its optimum heating range, and regularly maintained.