Domestic Wood Heaters and Outdoor Fires

Wood smoke can be harmful to those with respiratory conditions, young children, and the elderly. It can also cause a nuisance for neighbours by affecting outdoor activities or leaving a smoke smell on laundry.  Learn how to use wood heaters and outdoor fires responsibly to minimise smoke emission and how to report issues.

Tips for using domestic wood heaters

Choosing and storing wood 

Ensure the wood you purchase has a moisture content below 20%. Retailers should provide a moisture meter to demonstrate this. To get the most heat for your money, purchase wood in the summer or early winter and store it in a well-ventilated, undercover area. 

Lighting and maintaining the fire 

  • Use paper and kindling to make the fire burn hot and bright before adding larger logs. This minimises smoke production. 
  • Maintain adequate airflow by opening the flue and leaving the air control on full. 
  • Allow full air for 15-20 minutes after reloading, and either let the fire burn out overnight or leave the air supply open a bit to reduce smoke. 

Chimney maintenance 

Check your chimney occasionally for smoke emissions and clean your flue at least once a year.  If your chimney is smoky please refer to the following guide from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Troubleshooting your smoky chimney.  

For more tips on heating your home visit the Australian Home Heating Association website

Outdoor fires: barbeques, chimineas, and pizza ovens

Outdoor fires, including barbeques and chimineas, should operate without producing smoke.  

You can minimise smoke by: 

  • Using ample kindling and newspaper to quickly establish a bright fire 

  • Gradually adding logs to a bright, hot fire 

  • Using only dry, seasoned firewood. 

Report an issue

To report an issue or make a complaint, complete the City's Public Health Complaint Form or contact the contact the City’s Health Services team (see below).

More information and contact

For more information or assistance contact the City's Health Services team on 08 9411 3444 or email [email protected]

See also: BurnWise Guide published by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. 



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.