Why Should I Burn Cleanly?

Smoke from woodstoves is the primary source of winter particulate air pollution throughout Western Montana and Missoula County. Exposure to wood smoke can cause reduced lung function, headaches, chronic bronchitis, aggravate existing lung disease and even cause premature death.

Reasons to burn cleanly include:

1. Less creosote build up in the chimney reduces fire hazard,

2. Improves air quality in your home and outdoors, and

3. Burns more efficiently so you may be able to heat your home with less wood - saving time and money.


Tips for Responsible, Efficient Burning

1. Season and cover all firewood

All firewood should be split, securely covered or stored, and aged for at least six months. Seasoned wood burns hotter, cuts fuel consumption and reduces the amount of smoke your appliance produces. Keep wood covered and out of the rain and snow.

2. Choose the right firewood

In Montana, Fir and Larch are the hottest burning fuels. Lodgepole burns well, while Ponderosa Pine produces less heat. Never burn trash or treated wood which can emit toxic air pollutants.

3. Clean ashes frequently

Excess ashes can clog the air intake vents reducing efficiency. Be sure to dispose of ashes in a metal container away from the house or any flammable material to reduce the risk of fire.

4. Don't let the fire smolder

Many people think they should let a fire smolder overnight. But reducing the air supply does little for heating and increases air pollution.

5. Keep your chimney clean

A clean chimney provides good draft for your wood-burning appliance and reduces the risk of a chimney fire. Have a certified professional inspect your chimney once a year.

6. Upgrade to cleaner equipment

EPA-certified wood stoves and fireplace inserts burn cleaner and burn wood more efficiently emitting less particle pollution than older models.

7. Be a good neighbor

Follow best practices for burning wood. Always remember to comply with state and local codes and check your local air quality forecast. For more information on how to burn wise, go to

8. Start it right

Use only clean newspaper or dry kindling to start a fire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or a propane torch.

9. Follow instructions

Operate your woodburning appliance according to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow all maintenance procedures.

10. Choose the right size for your space

Choose the right sized appliance for your needs. If your woodburning appliance is too big for your room or house, the fuel will smolder and create moreair pollution.



Burn Wise - US Environmental Protection Agency

Facts about EPA Certified Stoves

Burn Cleanly and Efficiently Pamphlet