Wood Tips For Safe Fires: What You Should Never Burn

1) “Green” wood is still full of sap, so it is hard to light, smokes like crazy adding more particles to the air. Wood needs to dry out, “season”, for at least 1-2 years. Ask the wood seller about length of seasoning. Firmly attached bark is a bad sign.
2) Don’t buy big wood unless you want to do a lot of splitting. Wood should be no bigger than 5 inches in diameter or you will have to cut it. Big wood is hard to catch fire, creating lots of soot and smoke.
3) Don’t buy wood that is not local or you could be responsible for spreading disease and pests. Most disease and pest devastations are caused by campers bringing wood from their area to a campground.
4) Soft woods like pine, firs and cypress make a lot of smoke when burning which coats your chimney with creosote. The burn is very fast making soft wood inefficient for heating. Soft wood is fine for an outdoor pit.
5) Poisonous plants and trees with the word “poison” in their name, such as poison sumac and poison oak, release oil into the air which can be life threatening for some.
6) Don’t burn endangered species. Check the list for your area.
7) Pressure treated wood has been preserved with copper, chromium and arsenic. However, some of the arsenic goes into the air and the rest that is burned remains in the ash.

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