The Burnwise program supports local governments to manage domestic wood smoke in their areas.
A correctly operated wood heater that is compliant with the Australian and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 4012: 2014 and AS/NZS 4013: 2014) should not produce visible smoke, except for a short time on lighting. Many older, non-compliant wood heaters can also be operated so they emit little or no visible smoke.
The BurnWise program does not suggest people should give up their wood heaters but promotes the use of compliant wood heaters and responsible wood heater use, so that wood smoke emissions are minimised.
All firewood and wood heaters offered for sale in Western Australia must comply with the Environmental Protection (Solid Fuel Heater and Firewood) Regulations 2018.
About the Environmental Protection (Solid Fuel Heater and Firewood) Regulations 2018Show more
Wood Heater and Firewood Regulations
The Environmental Protection (Solid Fuel Heater and Firewood) Regulations 2018 (Regulations) were gazetted on 31 August 2018.
The Regulations establish mandatory efficiency and emission standards for wood heaters sold in Western Australia. They also set out mandatory quality standards for firewood offered for sale to ensure that air emissions from heaters and firewood are minimised.
Wood heater standards
The Regulations implement the Australian and New Zealand Standards for wood heaters in Western Australia, including:
- AS/NZS 4012: 2014 Domestic solid fuel burning appliances — Method for determination of power output and efficiency
- AS/NZS 4013: 2014 Domestic solid fuel burning appliances — Method for determination of flue gas emission.
These Australian Standards introduced stricter emission limits and new efficiency limits for wood heaters:
- From 31 August 2018 all wood heaters sold in WA must have an efficiency of at least 55 per cent and particle emissions not greater than 2.5 grams per kilogram of fuel burnt (g/kg).
- From 8 August 2019 all wood heaters sold in WA must have an efficiency of at least 60 per cent and particle emissions not greater than 1.5 g/kg.
Wood heaters sold in WA should have a compliance plate stating it conforms to the Australian Standard for emissions (AS/NZS 4013: 2014) and efficiency (AS/NZS 4012: 2014).
Firewood with an internal moisture content of more than 20 per cent is known as 'green firewood'. Green firewood will not burn efficiently in a wood heater and generates excessive smoke emissions which can be harmful to human health.
The Regulations prevent the sale of domestic firewood with an internal moisture content of more than 20 per cent in the Perth area (unless a permit has been granted).
The Regulations also specify an approved method for measuring the internal moisture content of wood, which we will apply for enforcement purposes. Read the Instructions for measuring the internal moisture content of wood.
Painted or treated firewood
In WA, the Regulations prohibit the sale of domestic firewood that has been painted, coated with plastic or has been treated with any chemical.
Painted wood may contain substances that should not be burnt as they can release harmful emissions (e.g. older painted wood containing lead).
Chemical treatments are used to preserve timber. Copper-chrome-arsenate (CCA) treated timber is used in building and construction, in landscaping and was commonly used for park and playground equipment. In addition, railway sleepers and the bases of old timber power poles have historically been treated with pesticides such as creosote.
The burning of chemically treated wood (including CCA and creosote treated wood) releases emissions that can be a risk to the environment and human health, and it should not be burnt.
Information for the communityShow more
Health check your wood heater
One smoky chimney can affect the air quality of an entire neighbourhood and exposure to wood smoke can trigger respiratory conditions.
The BurnWise program promotes the efficient operation of domestic wood heaters to minimise smoke emissions into the air. A correctly operated wood heater should not produce visible smoke, except for a short time on lighting.
- Start your fire with dry kindling and the air intake fully open.
- Burn dry seasoned firewood—never burn green, wet or treated firewood.
- Always operate your wood heater with the air intake open, even overnight.
- Keep your wood heater burning brightly.
We have produced a series of brochures to provide more information on:
- Store right, burn bright, breathe all right - responsible operation of your wood heater
- Backyard burning
- Buying and selling wood heaters in WA
- Home heating options and air quality
- Smoke from wood heaters, backyard burning and barbeques
- Troubleshooting your smoky chimney
- Wood heaters and your health.
Information for local governmentShow more
BurnWise wood smoke management guide
The BurnWise wood smoke management guide has been written to support local governments to manage domestic wood smoke.
It includes an overview of the impacts and management of domestic wood smoke, as well as the following three toolkits that can be tailored to suit the resources and needs of local governments in their management of domestic wood smoke.
Community education toolkit
The community education toolkit includes pamphlets and short films about wood smoke. It is designed to support local government environmental health officers in educating the community on the impacts of wood smoke pollution and how correct wood heater operation can minimise emissions. The resources in the toolkit are also used to support complaints management and smoke patrols (also see the BurnWise brochures in the Information for the community section).
Important components of this toolkit include the wood moisture meters. We have wood moisture meters available for use by environmental health officers which demonstrate the internal moisture content of wood. Dry, well-seasoned firewood will have an internal moisture content of less than 20 per cent.
Complaints management toolkit
Focusing on education before enforcement, the complaints management toolkit sets out an example process for managing wood smoke complaints and contains reference guides, templates and letters to support complaints management.
Smoke patrol toolkit
The smoke patrol toolkit provides detailed guidance on how to implement a smoke patrol program.
A smoke patrol is a targeted community education program aimed at reducing smoke from domestic wood heaters. It involves visual observations of house chimneys to identify excessively smoky wood heaters. When an excessively smoky chimney is identified, information is provided to assist householders in operating their wood heater more efficiently and effectively.
Smoke patrols focus on education but if a household persistently creates excessive smoke, warnings or infringements can be issued.
Please contact us on 6364 7000 for printed copies of the BurnWise wood smoke management guide.