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How to Burn Smarter... While Being More Responsible
by France Bergeron

Winter is coming! We will soon have that fireplace or wood store burning to keep us warm. Enjoy the benefits of your wood fire in comfort by taking a few security measures suggested by Natural Resources Canada. Your association wishes you all a great and safe winter!

  • Burn dry, well-seasoned wood that has been split properly. Green wood is a major culprit in the creation of creosote.

  • Store wood outdoors, stacked neatly up off the ground with the top covered. Bringing in the amount of wood needed for only a day reduces the chance of allergy-causing mould spores circulating indoors.

  • Burn small, hot fires. A blazing fire creates more smoke, and smoke equals creosote build-up and air pollution.

  • Never burn garbage or glossy paper. Plastics and the coloured ink on magazines and wrappers produce harmful chemicals and creosote when burned.

  • Never burn treated wood or ocean driftwood. Particle-board, plywood or any other painted or treated wood releases a toxic cloud of chemicals which can lead to creosote build-up and air pollution.

  • Start the fire with newspaper and dry kindling, never with gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter or a propane torch. A fire can get out of hand quickly if it is started with fuels other than wood.

  • Regularly remove ashes from the stove or fireplace. Store them outside in a covered metal container in a safe area away from the side of the house to avoid creating a fire hazard.

  • Ensure that flammable household items- drapes, furniture, newspaper and books - are far away from the heat and stray sparks of the wood stove or fireplace.

  • Keep the stove or insert doors closed unless I am loading or stoking the live fire. Fashion screens in front of an open fire will not contain the fire or embers.

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at home and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

  • At least once a year, have the stove or fireplace and chimney inspected by a technician certified by WETT or, in Quebec, by the Association des professionnels du chauffage.

  • When the stove or fireplace insert needs replacing, buy a new EPA-certified high-efficiency wood stove, fireplace or insert.