As the nights grow longer and the air a bit colder, many of us are thinking about that first fire of the year. Burning wood in a fireplace or wood stove can make almost anyone feel good. There is a myth that burning wood is bad for the environment but actually it’s the opposite. A few things to keep in mind are to always make sure your fireplace or stove is cleaned and never burn paper, cardboard, wet wood or anything with paint or glue on it. Keep the fire hot, which reduces the amount of smoke going up the chimney. Also, by closing down the damper to allow just the smoke to go up the chimney will keep more of the heat in the house. Wood is a renewable resource unlike gas, oil and coal and if grown properly can be a great source of fuel. When wood is burned the energy released is stored energy from the sun and the carbon dioxide is the same whether burned or left to rot on the forest floor. When buying wood, buy local wood and stay away from the plastic wrapped bundles sold at the grocery store or gas station. Most of that wood is not local, it is shipped thousands of miles and can even come from overseas. So, go ahead and use wood to help heat the house, just keep it hot, use fat pine to start the fire instead of paper, and buy your wood from local suppliers. Oh yeah and the people burning household trash in the country, now that is really bad for the environment…more information on that soon.