Burning Poles as an Idea

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Can we burn scrap utility power poles in campgrounds? Of course, these would be nail/screws/plate free, just wood.


Scrappy Idea

Dear Scrappy Idea,

Wood utility poles are nearly always heavily treated with one or several preservative chemicals to prevent rot and insect infestation. The chemicals that are most common in North America are pentachlorophenol, chromated copper arsenate, copper naphthenate, creosote, and ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate. These preservatives include heavy metals and other hazardous chemicals – and therefore this potential wood source would be very hazardous both to your health, and to air quality, to burn in a campfire, fire pit, or wood stove setting. I would highly urge you to find another source of wood for campfires, whether that’s gathering wood near your campsite when permitted, or purchasing local firewood.

Thank you for asking!

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