With the holidays behind us, it’s time to settle into the winter curled up with our garden catalogs in front of a warm fire. Whether it’s a gas, pellet or good old-fashioned wood fire, there is something cozy and satisfying about the warmth and the glow.
For some of us, it’s important to keep our wood stoves and fireplaces. My husband and I live at the end of the Avista line in Painted Hills. Over the years, we have been thankful we had the wood fireplace when a winter storm hits, and we are out of power for a week or more. It also means we need to burn responsibly to minimize the smoke we generate in the process.
A good fire starts with good wood. Different kinds of wood generate differing amounts of heat. In this region, locust, red or Douglas fir and tamarack generate the most heat which is measured in British thermal units or BTUs. Locust is rated at 27.9, fir at 20.7 and tamarack comes in at 21. Ponderosa pine is another common firewood here, but it comes in at low 16.2.
To burn cleanly, wood must be dry. Freshly-cut wood or green wood can take