Skip to main content

Get firewood now to help clean up Rotorua's air

Thursday, 17 February 2011 10:25 p.m.

Rotorua residents are urged to get firewood now so that it dries properly and burns cleanly when the cold weather hits this winter.

As part of a programme to improve Rotorua's air quality, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is urging residents to get their firewood early. 

Group Manager Strategic Development Mary-Anne Macleod said during winter sixty percent of Rotorua's air pollution comes from domestic home heating sources.

"We want people to plan now so they can make sure the wood they burn in winter to heat their homes is dry before they use it," she said.

"Burning dry wood means homes are warmer and our air is cleaner.

"It doesn't matter if they're collecting it themselves, getting it from friends or family, or buying it from a wood merchant. What is important is that they get it in advance, stack it properly and let it dry," Ms Macleod said.

"Wood takes at least six months to season or dry properly. Burning wet or green wood creates more air pollution."

Pollution caused by burning wet wood and inefficient home fires can cause adverse health affects, Tthe most vulnerable being the elderly, the very young, and those who already have respiratory problems, such as asthma, Ms Macleod said.

For more information on how to store wood correctly and clean wood burning tips visit

For further media information please contact:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Communications Advisor Yvonne Rooney on 0800 884 880 or 021 289 8380

Further Information

Storing Firewood

Dry and correctly stored wood will produce a cleaner, hotter and more efficient fire.

To get firewood dry:

1.      Get it early, well before the winter months. Wood takes at least six months to dry. And always store more wood that you think you will need.

2.      Split your wood to a maximum of 15cm thickness.

3.      Stack it properly. Stacking your wood loosely to allow air to flow through the pile will help it dry.

4.      Store your wood off the ground to protect it from ground moisture. An old wooden pallet is ideal.

5.      Cover it well. Store your firewood in a sheltered place to protect it from the weather. Cover the pile wood to protect it from the rain. A tarpaulin is an easy way to cover your wood pile.

Clean wood burning tips

Use your wood burner so it produces efficient heat with less smoke.

Start your fire so that heat output is increased and smoke emissions are reduced:

1.      Open air controls fully and leave them open for 30 minutes after lighting the fire to let good air flow into the heater

2.      Get the fire hot as quickly as possible by using dry kindling and plenty of paper

3.      Place wood into the heater with at least a 2cm space around the pieces to allow good air circulation

4.      By splitting logs you can reduce emissions by 40 percent (compared to burning unsplit wood).

Keeping your fire burning brightly

·         Wait for the fire to be fully established before adding more wood or other fuel

·         Allow the air to circulate - add wood with space between pieces 

·         Open air controls fully for a few minutes before adding the fuel. After reloading wait until the fire is burning fiercely before turning down the air controls

·         Don't overload your heater

·         Clean your flue or chimney at least once a year to remove soot and tar build-up. This will increase the heat of your fire and reduce the smoke emissions

Quick ways to tell your fire is burning well

·         The wood and embers are glowing and there are bright swirling flames

·         Go outside and check your chimney occasionally. About 15 minutes after lighting your fire your chimney or flue should only be giving off a heat haze with no visible smoke.

What to do if you have a smoky fire

Dark, smouldering wood and lots of smoke suggest the wood is not being burning fully. This reduces the heat made from your fire and causes excess smoke and pollution.

·         Check the wood you are using is dry. The Regional Council has a wood moisture tester. Call 0800 884 880 to make an appointment to test your wood

·         Get your wood burner checked and cleaned at least once a year

·         Upgrade your heating appliance. Old wood burners and open fires create more smoke than the clean burning models available. The Regional Council offers the Hot Swap Loan to upgrade old wood burners and open fires to a clean heat alternative. Call 0800 468 792 or visit for more information.


Woodshed lowres