The provincial government is updating its rules on wood and pellet stoves for the first time since 1994.

Moving forward, new units sold in stores will have to meet stricter emissions standards recently adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which will result in an immediate 40% reduction in maximum emissions.

Ministry of Environment Air Quality Meteorologist Earle Plain was a part of the team who developed the new guidelines. He says they’re objective is NOT to limit wood burning stoves.

“The objective is to make sure that when people choose to heat with wood, that they are heating with appliances that are very good in terms of technology and are using the best technology available to make sure that you get a clean hot burn.”

While most of the changes are aimed at new wood stoves, existing owners will now be required to burn clean, cured firewood.

“Before there was no provision in there that said you can’t burn prohibited materials like garbage and stuff like that” noting that they get several complaints every year about neighbours who are burning things besides wood or treated wood.

Plain says wood smoke can make up a significant part of an airsheds pollution in river valleys or bowl areas that are susceptible to inversions, such as the Prince George bowl or Bulkley Valley.

He anticipates the changes will further stoke BC’s wood stove exchange program.