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Is It Safe to Burn Wood With Fungus or Mushrooms on It?

Is It Safe to Burn Wood With Fungus or Mushrooms on It

The answer is yes. According to most sources, it is safe to burn wood with fungus or mushrooms. There is some discussion as to whether or not this is a safe practice. More often than not firewood experts will say that it is fine to burn wood on which fungus or mushrooms have grown. However, there are some who maintain that the unwelcome fungi and mushrooms should at the very least be knocked off first. 

Whether you’re trying to warm up a chilly living room on a snowy winter’s day, or building a firepit for a summer evening campfire, there’s nothing better than a great fire for bringing people together. Everyone who’s ever built a fire knows how important the type and quality of the wood you use are.

So, you’ve chosen a piece of wood to build your fire with or throw onto an existing fire and you notice something strange. Is that mold? Is that fungus? Is it mushrooms? Normally, burning wood with fungus or mushrooms on it should be fine. However, there are some cases where you shouldn’t. Read on to find out all you need to know about burning firewood with fungus or mushrooms on it!

Why Burning Wood With Fungus Is Usually Safe

It might seem counterintuitive that burning fungus and mushrooms can be totally harmless. After all, inhaling spores and fumes from something that grew on your dead wood seems like it’s not that bright of an idea. 

However, you can put your mind at rest. This normal and safe for the same reason that you burn wood that has mold on it every winter. After all, most wood has some mold somewhere on it, whether it be on the surface, in a crack, or under the bark. 

The reason burning fungus and mushrooms is as safe as burning that mold is is for a couple reasons. 

If you’re burning in a fireplace, the smoke will mostly be directed upwards out the chimney. This will mean that the spores will be directed up and out into the sky along with the smoke and whatever else gets burned up with the wood. 

Even when burned in a firepit or campfire, the type of fungus and mushrooms that grow on wood isn’t especially toxic to humans. That’s not to say you could eat it or should play around with it or anything, it is just usually fine to touch bare handed and to burn.

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It might not be the best thing for your lungs if you expose them to burnt spores a lot over a long period of time, but it won’t kill you. 

Where Do Fungus and Mushrooms Come From?

Fungus and mushrooms that have grown on your wood have most likely appeared there for one reason. Moisture. Like most living things, mushrooms and fungus need a moist environment to grow in. 

If you had an especially wet spring, summer, or fall, chances are there’s going to be a bit of mushrooms, fungus, or mold that’s grown in your wood pile. Now, as we’ve discussed earlier this isn’t the end of the world. However, if you’d rather not have it there, there are ways to prevent this from occurring. 

When Is Burning Wood With Fungus or Mushrooms Not Safe?

Although it is usually considered relatively safe to burn firewood that has a little bit of mushroom or fungus clinging onto it, there are times where it isn’t advisable. 

One of the major reasons it would be considered unsafe to burn firewood with mushroom, fungus, or even mold on it is if there is someone in your family or nearby that has an allergy. Although the fire would end up destroying whatever it is that person is allergic to, the smoke will carry the allergen to them and potentially cause a reaction. 

If this is the case, the safest thing you can do is simply get rid of the wood. Wait until they are not home or not around and put it somewhere so you can dispose of it later. Then make sure you wash your hands! 

Another time it can possibly be unsafe is when you are in front of a more open flame. Think campfires, cooking fires, and other non-fireplace fires. This is because there is no protection from the smoke of the burning fungus and mushrooms, and you are very close to it. 

This should only be a problem with large amounts of fungus and/or mushrooms that you are very close to. 

The last reason is that there could be an unusual type of fungus or mushroom that has made its home on your firewood. Most common wood fungi and mushrooms aren’t extremely toxic to humans, so burning them is safe. 

If your fungus or mushroom isn’t an off-white color, try to look up online whether or not the type of fungus or mushroom on your wood is especially dangerous. If you burn an extremely toxic or poisonous mushroom or fungus in a firepit or fireplace, you could be endangering your family, friends, pets, and yourself. Make sure it is normal fungus before you use the wood!

How to Prevent Wood From Molding

The main way to keep your wood safe from mold and fungus is to keep it dry. There are a number of ways this can be done. The easiest would be to keep it indoors or in a shed, where moisture from the ground and rain cannot effect it. 

If this isn’t possible for you, though, there are other ways to protect your pile. First, and perhaps most importantly, stack it on pallet. This will allow you to keep it off the ground. The reason this is important is that your wood is quite absorbant, and will take in a ton of moisture from the dirt and grass beneath after it rains, or even after a particularly humid day. 

The other thing you can do is cover it with a tarp. You do not need to worry about the sides too much. As long as there is a little spare tarp hanging over the sides of the pile, it should be fine.

Simply drape the tarp over the top of the wood, perhaps using a bungy cord to attach it to the pallet, as to secure it so it doesn’t blow away during the next storm or even a windy day. 

In any event, no matter how much you try to prevent it, small amounts of fungus, mushrooms, and even mold can grow from time to time. However, as was mentioned above, it is mostly safe to burn this. 

Final Thoughts

So, my advice? It is probably okay to just burn it. If you think it looks like a lot, knock a little bit off with a hatchet or another tool (it shouldn’t be too tough). If you are using a fireplace, feel free to just throw it in there and light it, as anything harmful will be sent up the chimney anyway. 

If you’re burning your wood in an open flame, like a campfire, perhaps knock some off or at least make sure no one around is allergic before lighting it up. 

Lastly, make sure that it is normal wood mushrooms or fungus and not something more harmful. 

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