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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Wood is Good? Building Safe Indoor Fires

Fire season is coming up once more, and most of our guests will be looking forward to building a cozy fire indoors, a luxury we are allowed on Bowen Island, but is becoming a rarity in most cities as homes and building codes modernize.

Enjoy a romantic fire... safely.


We've shared with you in the past why wood is the price of gold out here, and you can re-read that blog post here: Why Firewood Doesn't Grow On Trees.

What we'd like to emphasize in this post is why it's so important to only burn the proper wood in fireplaces and wood stoves. With the cost of wood being so high, it may be tempting to gather wood from outside, but here's why it's a bad idea for your safety, respiratory health, and for our vacation rental homes more generally.

Gathered wood from the forest is not dry enough.
When we say wood needs to be "seasoned," it means having been stored in a ventilated dry area for about a year, so that the moisture in the wood and sap is mostly gone when we burn it. This is important because trying to burn "green" wood, (wood that's been collected from the forest, or unseasoned firewood, for example), results in excessive smoke, particulates being released, and a fire that's difficult to start and keep lit. Fires made of green wood also do not reach a hot enough temperature, and therefore deposit creosote into chimneys, increasing the potential for a dangerous chimney fire.

Branches and fallen wood are not properly seasoned to burn indoors.


Beach wood/driftwood causes toxic gases.
Burning the salty driftwood that you find on the beach releases carcinogenic gases from the chlorine in the wood. Apart from being a risk to you if you inhale the gases, releasing it into the environment is no good for others who might inhale it as well. On top of the danger, it's possible that the smoke from burning driftwood could corrode some metals found in wood stoves. So please, never collect and burn driftwood.

Leave it on the beach - driftwood is dangerous to burn.


Other things to never burn:

  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Wood pallets
  • Garbage
  • Forest debris

And please remember...
Outdoor burning is never allowed on any of the properties, at any time of year. This is for your safety, the safety of the property, and in respect to neighbours in the area.


What can I burn?
Please, only burn the firewood or long-lasting packaged logs we provide at our properties. If you want to burn more than what we provide, buy dry, seasoned wood or packaged logs meant for indoor burning, available in bundles at mainland gas stations or other reputable stores. While you likely won't find dry log bundles for sale on Bowen, the General Store and Irly Building Centre on Bowen Island sometimes sell compressed logs meant for fireplaces and wood stoves as well. These places may on occasion sell bundled logs, but call ahead and don't rely on it. Best to stock up before arriving on Bowen if you want to enjoy extended fire time for certain.

Note: In addition to providing enough wood* for your evening fire we also have log bundles for sale at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and Lazy B Waterfront Suite. They are 20.00 (includes tax), counted up and charged to you after your stay, and available while supplies last.

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We appreciate you taking the time to read about indoor fire safety. Our hope is that you enjoy safe, warm, and wonderful fires during your stay in the colder season.

After you build your safe fire, you can rest easy and put up your feet!

* Enough wood for an evening fire means 4 logs per night plus kindling and paper.


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