BEND, OR -- With these cold Central Oregon nights, many look to the wood stove or fireplace for additional heat. However, the state is one of seven asking for more federal attention to the air pollution from residential wood stoves and heaters. A lawsuit filed last week says the EPA has not strengthened its standards for new wood stoves for many years. While several communities statewide are affected by soot in the air, Marcia Danab with the Oregon DEQ said that doesn't mean you can never have a fire in the fireplace.
"If you burn dry, seasoned, untreated wood, that’s the key thing. The wood needs to be dry, and never burn treated wood because that puts out harmful chemicals. And also, never burn garbage."
Danab said pellet stoves tend to burn cleaner than even the newer woodstoves. And for fireplaces, the DEQ recommends using the pre-made 'carbon-neutral' fire logs.
"They’re usually made from recycled sawdust and wax. They are a user-friendly solution for building a fire in a fireplace, and are significantly cleaner-burning alternatives to using firewood."
Danab said one way to tell how clean your fire is, is to go outside at night and look at what's coming out of the chimney. You should see waves of heat if it's burning clean, instead of smoke.
Oregon was the first state to require certification for woodstoves, but says the federal rules don't address some of the most popular types.
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