A news release from the Dane County Clean Air Coalition:

If you’re burning wood this winter, you can have a cheaper, safer and healthier fire by following these tips:

• Burn only dry, seasoned wood. It’s better for the air and your wallet. Look for wood that is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when hit against another piece of wood. Dry seasoned wood is more efficient at heating your home and can add up to significant savings over the winter.
• Never burn painted or treated wood or trash.
• Maintain your wood stove or fireplace and have a certified technician inspect it yearly. A certified technician can clean dangerous soot from your chimney and keep your wood stove or fireplace working properly, which reduces your risk of a home fire.
• Change to an EPA-certified wood stove or fireplace insert. These models are more efficient than older models, keeping your air cleaner, your home safer and your fuel bill lower, while keeping you warm in the winter. An estimated 12 million Americans heat their homes with wood stoves each winter, and nearly three-quarters of these stoves are not EPA certified. An EPA-certified wood stove emits nearly 70 percent less smoke than older uncertified models. Go to the EPA’s Burn Wise website for more information: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise
• If you have another source of heat, do not use your fireplace or wood stove on days that are forecast to be Clean Air Action Days for fine particle pollution.