For decades, 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 indicate residential wood burning has increased as more wood was burned for home heating and in residential backyard fire pits.
Minnesota households burned about 2 million cords of wood between April 2014 and March 2015, a 68% increase from the 2012 survey. Residential wood burning is on the rise, although caution should be used in analyzing trends over the years due to changes made to improve the survey design and methodology.
The survey results found an increase in the number of households burning wood and the amount of wood burned.
This map represents the extrapolated number and percent of households in each region that burned wood at their main homes or secondary residences or while camping. Households are mapped based on the location of their primary residence.
Why people burn
While the majority of wood burned is for home heating, backyard recreational wood burning, such as in fire rings, fire pits and chimeneas, accounted for 42 percent of the metropolitan cords of wood burned and 27 percent of the cords of wood burned by households statewide.
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 is a sizable contributor to Minnesota’s fine particle emissions. While many other air pollution sources are going down, MPCA’s estimated residential wood smoke pollution has increased.