Log burners blamed for high smog levels

03:54, Jun 03 2014
HAZY DAYS: Smog hangs over Christchurch city.

Cantabrians will be taught how to light a log burner as the region battles high levels of air pollution.

Christchurch hit seven high-pollution days for the year yesterday, with Timaru still leading the way with nine.

Kaiapoi recorded a fourth high-pollution day.

It is grim news for Environment Canterbury (ECan), which enforces the Government's regulations. Regulations state that centres, by September 2016, may have only three high-pollution days.

This morning ECan announced it would use social media to help teach householders "the art" of lighting a log burner.

Ecan's Nadeine Dommisse said Christchurch residents needed both good air quality and the ability to use log burners.


Householders would receive step-by-step guides on how to light a log fire in the mail.

Commissioner David Bedford said, "If you have a wood burner, we need your help to clean up the air so will be asking you to learn the art of starting and maintaining a smoke-free fire and to share your tips with others through our Facebook page." 

Bedford said ultra-low emission wood burners were "getting closer" to being on the market.

"We are also continuing to work with developers and manufacturers to encourage them to develop an ultra-low emission burner which will make reducing air pollution much easier in the longer term." 

Consultation on ECan's new air plan has also begun which proposes changes to how air pollution is managed in Canterbury.

A post-earthquake amnesty on smoky woodburners has been lifted by ECan, with enforcement officers using infra-red technology to pinpoint offending burners.

Fines between $300 and $1000 can be issued.


Step 1: the art of starting 

Use lots of kindling - don't skimp - and cross stack.

Fire box should be half full with kindling and paper.

Light in three places.

Fire must be burning brightly and kindling turning black before wood is added.

Step 2: the art of loading

Use small logs for first load, about three times the size of your kindling.

Criss-cross logs and don't pack too full.

Leave air flow high.

Add next load when wood has burned down to half original size.

Step 3: the art of burning

Should always see good amount of flames or hot embers before adding anymore wood.

Leave fire on high for a least 30 minutes.

Can use bigger logs but each time the box should only be three-quarters full.

Cross stacking.

You can turn air flow down but switch back up to high for 15 minutes each time you reload and don't damp down the fire before bed. You get more smoke than heat.

The Press