Since 1960, Minnesota state agencies have conducted Minnesota residential fuelwood use surveys to learn how much wood is burned, where it is burned, and why. The latest surveys have indicated residential wood burning has been increasing over time as a result of more burning for heat and recreation.
Between May 2017 and April 2018, Minnesota households burned about 1.5 million cords of wood. While this is a decrease from the amount of wood burned in 2015, in general wood burning appears to have increased over time, especially since 2003. That being said, Caution should be used in analyzing trends over the years due to changes made to improve the survey design and methodology.
Why people burn
While the majority of wood burned is for home heating, the most common reason households burn wood is for recreation, such as in fire rings, fire pits and chimeneas.
Air pollution estimates from residential wood burning
MPCA uses these survey results to estimate the air pollutant emissions from residential wood burning. The increase in wood burning is a concern because residential wood burning accounted for 55% of Minnesota’s direct fine particle emissions in the most recent emissions inventory (2014). While many other air pollution sources are going down, MPCA’s estimated residential wood smoke pollution has increased.