Auckland Council has confirmed there is no ban on the use of indoor open fireplaces or wood burners in Auckland and has issued advice on efficient fuel use, in the wake of a spate of calls asking for advice about home fires.
“People can burn dry wood in their fireplaces and woodburners this winter. The most important thing is that people stay warm with heating they can afford,” says Kataraina Maki, General Manager, Community and Social Policy.
“We do see a spike in air pollution in the winter caused by home fires so, where possible, clean heating is the best option for all of us,” says Ms Maki.
For households that do use wood burners or open fires for home heating, the council offers the following advice on how to burn fuel more efficiently and minimise smoke pollution.
- Buy and burn dry, aged firewood to minimise smoke – wet fire wood is hard to light, burns with more smoke and throws off less heat;
- Keep your fire burning brightly - this keeps smoke to a minimum and stops residue building up in the flue;
- Wood is better than coal, - if you do burn coal, use low sulphur coal to reduce sulphur emissions;
- Don't burn wood that is painted, tanalised or treated with preservatives such as treated building materials - these can generate toxic substances in both smoke and ash;
- Don't burn rubbish or green waste.
“It’s much more environmentally responsible to dispose of your rubbish and take building off-cuts to the tip, rather than smoking up your neighbourhood and polluting the air,” says Ms Maki.