With warm home fires becoming frequent as winter closes in, Horizons Regional Council is reminding the community of the importance of burning good, dry firewood.
Horizons environmental scientist Harold Barnett says burning green, wet or treated wood, or other household items, including rubbish, plastics, oils and food scraps, can harm human health and the environment.
“These materials release undesirable chemicals, gases and fine particles into the air when burned,” Mr Barnett says.
“Burning dry firewood creates a warmer and more efficient home fire that will smoke less, emit fewer fine particles and reduce carbon emissions, leading to cleaner air and healthier communities.”
Mr Barnett says air quality in the Horizons region is generally good compared to other regions.
“Some towns, such as Taihape, Taumarunui, Ohakune, Dannevirke and Pahīatua, are more prone to poor air quality on cold and still winter nights. This happens because of a combination of home heating, climate and local topography.
“That is why it’s so important we all play our part to look after air quality by only burning good, dry wood, regardless of where we live in the region. It’s also why Horizons encourages the community to collect and store firewood early so it can dry out in time for winter.”
Horizons also encourages people to recycle paper, cardboard and plastic materials, compost vegetation, and transport rubbish to the local transfer station, instead of burning it outdoors, Mr Barnett says.
“People should also note that burning rubber, PVC, plastic, waste oil, treated or painted timber and agricultural waste in your backyard is prohibited.
“We urge people to think about those around them before backyard burning and ensure they do all they can to be good and considerate neighbours.”
Anyone concerned about outdoor burning in their area can call our Pollution Hotline on 0508 800 800. For concerns about smoky home fires, please get in touch your local city or district council.
Visit Horizons’ air quality page for more information about good wood and backyard burning. Learn more about the national air quality picture at lawa.org.nz.