Monday, June 08, 2009


Sometimes we like to have a little fire in our beat up terracotta outdoor fireplace. Last night we got started a bit late (10pm) and, being in a hurry, I bought DuraFlame's new lower "carbon footprint" log.

Ladybug lit it up and it started going...really slow. She was able to coax a flame not much bigger than a candle and it was down to smoke within an hour...but not burnt.

We went to bed and got up the next morning. It was still 90% unburnt and still smouldering in the pit. At noon, after 14 hours of smouldering, I went out and threw a dry stick in there and started blowing to get it ignited. They were burning faster together, but after another hour the original log sat smoking more than ever. My neighbor came over to make sure our house wasn't burning down. I came out a while later on break from work, found more dry fuel and got my lung bellows really moving until there was a tornado of flame whipping up in the chmney.

That was enough to incinerate the rest of the log. I swear it was made out of candle wax. I've never seen a log last 17 hours without needing a relight.

Needless to say, the next time I need a chemical campfire log, I will be sticking with the demonic envirobasher version of the Duraflame. I can't image there being more carbon coming out of a hotburning log that is gone in 2-3 hours. The whole idea of buying green is an over-the-top marketing ploy anyway. If you want to be earth friendly, don't burn a log. Put on a coat or go to bed. We opted to enjoy ourselves for a rare treat instead. No problem.


Pandabonium said...

Try the all new eco-friendly Dura-Nuke log. 50% less radiation than other nuclear logs!

I agree, an "eco-friendly" verysion of something that is by its nature unfriendly to the planet is just hype.

Next time, cut down a neighbor's tree and burn a log from that. I will at least be carbon neutral. Though, your neighbor may retaliate in an non eco-friendly way. ;^)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I think the "eco-friendly" point is that, after trying like mad and failing to get the damned thing to burn, you're likely to give up on it. Voila! No fire, hence no smoke!

Arkonbey said...

MM's got it right, they didn't lie; A log that doesn't burn absolutely has a lower carbon footprint than one that does.

Us, we live in the woods and have TONS of sticks and branches from windfall and powerline trimming. They are in gigantic piles we call Chipmunk Condos, and that's what we use in our fire pit.

le bulette said...

shame videos of fires in other people's fireplaces just don't seem to cut it

Dean Wormer said...

Bah. I burn plastic milk cartons to heat my house. Environment be damned.

Dave said...

I have a fire place in my apartment which is currently obscured by a large tool box.

When I bought my house in Oregon, I had to fight like hell to keep the wood stove because some bright individual painted over the UL label and ruined it.

Green solutions are almost always guarenteed to produce more carbon than non green solutions. Take alcohol fuel, for all the alcohol that is produced , you have power plant smoke to pump the water to feed the corn, fertilizer plant smoke, tractor smoke, and cow farts for cleaning up afterward.

Francce has successfully devised a mthod to recycle nuclear waste. Does that mean nukes are green?

Don Snabulus said...

The greenest solution is behavior modification. Everything else is a matter of complex tradeoffs.

Don Snabulus said...


Yikes! Fist fights are carbon neutral though. I'd still rather not get in one.


Maybe when they said it was "green" they meant the wood hadn't cured yet.


Just watch out for the chipmunk commandos guarding the condos.

le bulette,

I agree...if it weren't such a pain to get the TV out there. Maybe a laptop would work better.

Don Snabulus said...


Now, we all know Little Joe the goat eats all those cartons.

Swinebread said...

Hugh influx of asthma folks to the ER