How to avoid polluting wood smoke

It’s back. Smoke from wood burning stoves. Ted Schade, Air Pollution Control District Director, sent out the word to help us woodstove_smokekeep the Eastern Sierra air clean this winter.

Schade says when our towns experience periods of cold, calm weather, local air quality can quickly drop as concentrations of wood smoke build up in the stagnant air. The top rule – burn clean, hot fires and check your chimney for emissions.

This means burn well-seasoned, dry wood, make sure your fire gets plenty of air, and do not burn trash in your woodstove or fireplace. Use only non-coated and non-colored paper with dry kindling to start fires. If you close the draft on your stove, that can create pollution. About 15 minutes after you start your fire, go outside and check for visible or heavy smoke.

The most important rule, according to APCD, is “Never let the fire smolder.” Incomplete combustion of your firewood reduces heat produced and increases air pollution. The best routine? Use a single match and get a red-hot fire burning.

A free “Wood burning Handbook” which explains clean wood burning techniques is available at APCD or download it from their website, or call 760-872-8211.

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