Protect our community and reduce air pollution by ‘burning better’ this winter


Canberrans using wood heaters and firepits are being encouraged by the ACT Government to help keep our air clean by burning better this winter.

Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said wood heater and firepit owners can take simple steps to reduce air pollution, improve their heating efficiency and protect the environment this winter.

"All Canberrans should be able to breathe freely. Throughout most of the year, we have excellent air quality here in the ACT. This does not excuse us from needing to address the challenges that higher levels of air pollution during winter pose for some members of our community,” Minister Vassarotti said.

“Environmental protection and social justice are interconnected, and the choices we make as a community to protect one another are integral to supporting the most vulnerable in our city.

“There are just a few simple steps you can take to not only reduce smoke from your wood heaters, but you can also make your heaters more efficient and save you money.

"Canberrans can make a difference by opting for dry and well-seasoned wood obtained from a trusted firewood supplier. This simple choice will lead not only to a substantial reduction in smoke emissions but also enhanced efficiency and longer-lasting warmth.

“Making this choice also protects our parks and reserves from illegal wood harvesting. Our native species rely on trees and fallen logs for habitat, so removing them can have a devastating impact on the ecosystem.

"Another important measure is for Canberrans to have their wood heaters serviced and cleaned by a professional before the winter season. This will not only help to minimize smoke emissions but also to mitigate fire safety risks.

Other key steps to ensure your wood heater is burning efficiently are:

  • Store wood in a well-ventilated covered space to ensure it remains dry.
  • Always light your fire with air flow controls fully open and use plenty of kindling.
  • Position wood with enough space them to allow good air flow and complete combustion.
  • When reloading, use smaller logs and never overfill your heater.
  • Make sure to keep the air flow control open enough to maintain a flame.
  • Avoid letting your fire smoulder overnight, leave air control open to prevent this.

While the ACT Government is committed to reducing the harm caused by woodfire heaters, Minister Rebecca Vassarotti has also taken this opportunity to remind Canberrans about the importance of making their next choice electric.

“As Canberra transitions to an all-electric city in the coming years, we strongly urge the community to make their next choice electric," said Minister Vassarotti.

"By embracing energy-efficient electric appliances, Canberrans benefit from cost savings while also contributing to a sustainable future."

There are rebates and incentives available to help the community transition their wood heaters and old gas appliances to electric.

For more information on safe and efficient woodfire heating, visit the ACT Government Environment website.