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Burn Brighter this Winter 2014

burn brighter web banner.jpg 

Under the third phase of the Domestic Smoke Management Program, officers from the EPA Division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment collaborated with local council officers to reduce domestic wood smoke in the Longford Township focus area. A report on the 2014 project in Longford is available here.

“Air pollutants including wood smoke have been identified as a serious health risk and monitoring shows that a major source of smoke is wood heaters. The Burn Brighter Project aims to reduce wood smoke in the community”. Alex Schaap, Director EPA

The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services provides more information on the potential health impacts of wood smoke exposure. The Department also provides public health alerts for air quality at sites around Tasmania utilising real time data.  

Burn Brighter this Winter: how to burn wood, reduce smoke by 90%, and keep your home warm. (duration: 3:41)

The Burn Brighter this Winter 2014 Project focussed on building awareness of air quality issues within the Longford Township and highlighting the contribution that wood heater emissions make to poor air quality in many Tasmanian communities.

Officers from the EPA Division conducted a number of surveys in the area to monitor air quality, quantify smoke concentrations throughout the township. A number of public information stalls were held to provide residents with an opportunity to discuss air quality issues with members of the Burn Brighter team and learn some useful tips to improve the operation of their wood heaters. The results of the Burn Brighter this Winter 2014 project will inform further phases of the Domestic Smoke Management Program. The results of the project are available here.


“We are keen to improve community awareness of best practice operation of wood heaters and will do so by monitoring surveys and a targeted public awareness campaign. The message to wood heater operators is to burn brighter.” Alex Schaap, Director EPA

Persistent poor air quality from a neighbouring house in not something that has to be tolerated. When particular care is taken, most wood heaters can be operated so that they produce only modest smoke emissions and modern heaters can be operated so that no visible smoke is emitted at all.

Smoke from a poorly operated wood heater can be reduced by as much as 80 percent by following a few simple steps:

  •    Checking heaters comply with relevant Australian Standards
  •    Only using well seasoned, dry fire wood
  •    Always burn with a bright flame
  •    Burn the fire on high for 20 minutes after adding wood
  •    Always keep the air vents open enough to keep some kind of flame
  •    Don’t shut your fire right down when you go to bed
  •    Never let the fire smoulder

Information to support the project has been produced and is available below. For hard copies of any of the documents please contact the Department.

  • A Step-by-Step Guide to home heating and a healthy community. A4 double sided info sheet
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to home heating and a healthy community. A3 poster
  • Video presentation by Dr Fay Johnston, GP and Senior Researcher Menzies Research Institute on the health impacts of wood smok. approx. 10mins
  • Video presentation by Dr. John Innis, Senior Environmental Officer, Air, EPA on the Tasmanian wood smoke experience and air quality monitoring around the state. approx 30mins
  • Video presentation by Prof John Todd, consultant and academic, on why wood smokes and the best way to minimise it occurring in wood heaters. approx 30mins
  • A series of video presentations by Prof John Todd, consultant and academic on: Part 1-Why wood heaters smoke; Part 2-Smoke is wasted fuel; Part 3-How to operate a wood heater more efficiently; Part 4-How to burn wood overnight and reduce smoke; and Part 5-Maintaining a wood heater.

More ways to reduce the amount of smoke coming from your chimney can be found in the links below.    

Penalties may apply where people persist in operating their wood heaters in a way that causes excessive smoke.


Useful links:


Burn Brighter this Winter Communications Products

Posters, information sheets and video presentations relating to the Burn Brighter this Winter project.


Real Time Air Quality Data for Tasmania

The EPA Division monitors air quality conditions throughout Tasmania, reporting near real-time indicative particle concentration data here.


Improving Woodheater Use

Using wood heaters properly saves money and reduces health risks

Make Your Home Energy Efficient


An energy efficient home requires less heating and creates less air pollution.


Improve Air Quality Inside Your Home


Because we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, indoor air quality is important to human health. 

Learn How Weather Affects Air Quality


Weather and landscape have strong influences on air quality.


Air Quality Education Resources


Links to some of the many local and global air quality education resources.


Useful Links - Air Quality - links relating to air quality, air pollution and atmospheric science.


Air Specialist
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599 Fax: 03 6173 0254
Email: EnvironmentEnquiries@environment.tas.gov.au