Get your firewood sorted for winter now

Horizons Regional Council is reminding those with fireplaces and wood burners to get their firewood sorted now so it’s ready to go when the winter cold hits.

Horizons environmental scientist Harold Barnett says sourcing and storing your firewood in the summertime is a great way to not only be prepared and save hassle later, but also saves you money.
“It can be a lot cheaper to buy green or wet wood now and prepare and store it correctly to allow it to dry in time for winter, rather than having to buy dry wood when you need to burn it,” says Mr Barnett.
“When buying firewood, you can ask for the moisture content from the supplier, or test the wood yourself if you have access to a calibrated moisture meter.
“Only burn wood with a moisture content of 25% or less. Anything higher than this should be left to dry or season for longer. Green or wet wood emits more fine particles into the air and produces a thicker smoke than dry wood, contributing to poorer air quality.
“Being aware of the quality of your wood before you burn it can help your fires emit more heat and lessen your carbon emissions output. Doing your bit helps keep our air quality clean, healthy and safe for all in the chilly winter months.”
Mr Barnett says some areas in the Horizons Region are more prone to air quality issues.
“Horizons has two gazetted airshed sites in Taihape and Taumarunui, in which we monitor for fine particles in the air.
“These areas commonly have air quality issues in the winter due to home heating, climate and local topography. That’s why it’s even more important for people in these areas to be aware of this issue and take steps now to check their firewood is stored right and book in a chimney sweep.
“A handy tip for preparing your firewood stock is to remember to ‘Split, Stack, Store’:

  • Split wood into 15cm-thick pieces before you stack it – logs dry faster when split.
  • Stack split wood loosely off the ground in a criss-cross pattern to let dry air circulate.
  • Store wood in a dry place with the top covered for 6-12 months to allow it to season."
Mr Barnett says checking your chimney or wood burner now is also a good idea, as a dirty chimney can be a big contributor to poorer air quality and can cause chimney fires if left unchecked.
“Have a look in your chimney or wood burner – if it’s got a build-up of soot, or smoke emits from the door when opened while you’ve got a fire going, it’s in need of a sweep.
“Get these things sorted now to save hassle so you’re ready to get the fire going when it starts getting cold.”
For more information about air quality and burning good wood in the Horizons Region, check the Horizons website at You can also visit LAWA’s website for the full national air quality picture at