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How to Season Firewood and Cut Costs, Smoke, and Fuel Use

March 26, 2024

For Immediate Release – March 26, 2024

Media Contact:
John Wakefield, Air Quality and Climate Compliance Section Chief
Department of Environmental Conservation

How to Season Firewood and Cut Costs, Smoke, and Fuel Use

Montpelier, Vt. – It's finally spring and Vermonters are not only getting outside to appreciate the warmer weather, they’re also making plans for next winter's firewood supply. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has a few tips on how to properly dry or season firewood to reduce costs, smoke, and fuel use.

“Wet wood does not burn well and creates a lot of smoke that can harm your family, neighbors, and the environment,” said DEC Commissioner Jason Batchelder. “Seasoned wood burns hotter and cleaner than wet wood does, saving you money and energy.”

A simple tip from the Environmental Protection Agency is to burn the right wood the right way. To season wood for safer, cleaner burning, follow these tips as well:

  1. Split wood into various sizes (no larger than a six-inch wedge) to fit the fireplace or wood stove. Cut smaller pieces for kindling too.
  2. Stack wood outside, away from buildings, and off the ground on pallets or rails. Place wood with the split side down to promote air flow and drying.
  3. Cover the top of the stack with a tarp or woodshed to protect it from rain and snow. Leave the sides of the stack uncovered to promote air flow and drying.
  4. Allow the wood enough time to dry. Softwoods need at least six months to dry, while hardwoods need at least 12 months. Dry, seasoned wood is lighter than wet wood, sounds hollow, and has cracked ends.
  5. Test the wood with a small, hand-held moisture meter to see if it is dry and ready to burn (20% moisture or less is best).

By properly cutting, storing, and aging wood, you can help reduce air pollution, avoid nuisance impacts to neighbors, and protect human and environmental health,” said John Wakefield, DEC Air Quality and Climate Compliance Section Chief.

Members of the public can check out a moisture meter from over 60 local libraries for free thanks to a statewide loan program from DEC and the Department of Libraries. Find more tips on wood burning.


The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.

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