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Went outside recently and this is how the local village looked as the heating fires were burning:

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Chimney smoke on a cold day.

This is our chimney on the same day, at the same time as the photo above, with a fire burning in our oven and warming the house:

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Little to no visible smoke from a hot fire using dry wood.

A good portion of visible smoke is of course caused by water vapor. But a lot of smoke also means incomplete combustion and increased particulate matter coming from the chimney. If one is using a solid fuel, such as wood or biomass, it is a good idea to take the time and effort to make sure it is dry before burning it. All too often in the fall I hear chain saws, and see deliveries of wood. Much of this fresh cut wood is not properly dried before use, and a village smokeout can be an inevitable result.

Unfortunately, tradition dies hard. Not easy trying to convince others here to avoid affecting their own health, and the health of their neighbors, by simply buying and stacking wood in the spring rather than in the fall.

It is dangerous to over generalize, but issues like this do tend to make me wonder less why Hungary has one of the highest extrapolated rates of chronic lower respiratory disease in Central Europe.

You can spit at a storm, but that does not mean you can change its course.

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