Don't burn pressure-treated wood when camping

Bonfires—and more importantly, roasted marshmallows—are an essential part of any good camping trip. So what do you do when you're all set up and suddenly remember that you forgot firewood?

Whatever you do, make sure you're not burning pressure-treated wood, which is wood that has been treated with preservatives such as creosote, pentachlorophenol, or chromated copper arsenate (CCA).

Pressure-treated wood protects against fungi, insects and molluscs better than untreated wood – and this makes it useful in certain building projects. But the fact that it contains chemicals, which are released in ash and smoke when burned, makes it a no-go for firewood.

Health Canada regulates the chemicals used in pressure-treated wood as well as other pesticides, and has the following tips for staying safe:

• Never burn wood you suspect might be treated. Most pressure-treated wood has a greenish hue that typically fades over time, and can be found in abandoned play structures, old picnic tables, construction poles, fences or boat timbers.

• If your campsite has picnic tables made from treated wood, always serve your food on plates and not directly from the surface of the table.

• Do not compost or mulch sawdust or remnants from treated wood.

Be on the safe side this camping season and pay close attention to the type of wood you burn or come into contact with.

More information is available toll-free at 1-800-267-6315, or through e-mail at

Carol Ireland

Carol Ireland

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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