Officials warn people about burning wood from trees in storm - CBS 5 - KPHO

Fire officials warn people about burning wood from trees damaged in storm

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After Hurricane Sandy brought down several trees, many residents believed the wood would be good for firewood, but local fire marshals are warning people to avoid using the debris from the storm.

"We're starting to see people cut this into fire place lengths and you see the migration towards the house to the wood stoves, fire place," said Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith.

Most of it is a soft wood and filled with moisture, which creates a soot and tarry smoke known as creosote inside the lining of your chimney.

"It will ignite itself and you'll have a free running fire inside the chimney, which could crack the masonry of the chimney," Smith said.

When residents are trying to figure out what wood not to burn at home, fire marshals said one trick is seeing if it is sticky. If it is, that means there's sap and when it burns it will cause that problem in the chimney.

"That (sap) lines and coats the chimney and eventually chokes the opening of the chimney down to the point where the chimney won't function," Smith said.

Fire marshals also said don't use any of the wood debris from homes that were destroyed. That wood is usually treated with a preservative that can cause the same problem when you burn it in a fireplace.

David Norton told Eyewitness News it's nice seeing an abundance of wood around but he knows it's just not worth using if it could burn your house down.

"I've been doing it for 40 years," he said. "I can tell you a good piece of wood from a bad one."

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