The smell of wood smoke on a cool, clear summer night brings a sense of nostalgia for many of us. It is a reminder of the good old days. Wood fires have been used to heat our homes, to dispose of debris from gardening and for beach/camp fires for a long time. But times have changed!We are now more educated on air pollution and it has been discovered that smoke from burning vegetation is considered one of the major sources of air pollution.
Wood smoke contains tiny particles called particulate matter and many types of organic and inorganic compounds. Some are the normal byproducts of wood combustion but it also contains very small amounts of dioxins and furans, both carcinogens.
Particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter can be breathed into the deepest parts of our lungs. It is associated with all sorts of health problems like runny nose and coughing, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, heart disease and even death.
Burning season has just ended in Massachusetts so it is important to look out for open burning piles. Fire control tools and a water supply must always be present when burning anything. A pressurized fire extinguisher with a MIJA pressure gauge will ensure that your equipment is fully charged.