In many areas of Washington, wintertime wood burning is the single largest source of fine particle pollution (PM10 and PM2.5). That's right, wood smoke exceeds pollution from vehicles and industry. With better burning practices and the use of reasonable alternatives we can improve our air quality.
When wood isn't burned completely, the smoke it produces contains carbon
monoxide and toxic air pollutants. This includes benzene, formaldehyde,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and acrolein. With proper
maintenance and good burning techniques smoke emissions should remain under
10% opacity. Learn more about better
Wood stoves and fireplaces will smoke on start up and when stoking. There is a problem if the chimney is constantly smoking. Only burn dry seasoned firewood under 20% moisture content. Don't guess, invest in a moisture meter and test.
Tip: Leave the bark out of the fire. Bark is naturally fire retardant and when burned creates thick smoke and excess creosote. If the wood is split and seasoned correctly the bark should fall off naturally.
The burning of any processed wood materials is illegal and poisons our air, soil and water. This includes lumber, mill ends, pallets, plywood or any other potential construction materials. Spare our air and burn seasoned firewood only.
The Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA), in conjunction with the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE), is offering financial incentives in amounts ranging from $350 to $6000 for homeowners within the Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) of Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, Battle Ground, Yacolt, Chehalis and Centralia who wish to replace or remove an old wood stove or wood-burning fireplace insert which is installed in the home and does not meet the current emission limits set by the State of Washington (Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 173-433-100). Learn more about wood stove replacements and the wood stove cash buyback option.
A person must not advertise to sell, offer to sell, bargain, exchange, or give away a solid fuel burning device (wood stove or manufactured fireplace) in Washington unless it is certified.
If you utilize any gas appliances, or a wood burning device, it is important to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up to unsafe levels in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas. Learn more about the effects of CO from the Washington State Department of Health.
Permits are required for the installation of all solid fuel burning appliances. No used solid fuel burning device shall be installed in new or existing buildings unless such device is certified to meet the State of Washington Emissions Standards.