County smothers wood burning on bad air days

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County smothers wood burning on bad air days

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:03 pm


County smothers wood burning on bad air days

Zane Sparling
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rule applies between Oct. 1-March 1 after Multnomah County commissioners' yes vote.

Multnomah County now has the authority to ban wood burning on days when the air is already unsafe to breathe.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rule, which contains special exemptions for those who don't own or can't afford to use other types of heating, on Thursday, Jan. 11.

"This ordinance is primarily outreach and education focused," noted Environmental Health Director Jae Douglas at the board meeting. "We expect very few civil penalties to be levied."

The ordinance replaces a voluntary wood smoke curtailment program created roughly a year and a half ago. The new order has teeth — with offenders on strike three or more facing a fine of up to $500.

County staffers continued to fine-tune the measure before the final vote, adding exceptions for religious rites and those who need to use wood stoves to supplement an inadequate heat source.

"Anybody who has been out in East County knows that we can get 50 mph winds when it's tropical and balmy in downtown Portland," explained Commissioner Lori Stegmann. "So often times you need a wood burning device and your electric or gas heater."

Multnomah County will issue the no-burn order on wintry days between Oct. 1 and March 1 with 24 hours advance notice. When alerted to violations by complaints, the county will mail out educational literature to that household and those nearby, so everyone knows the new rules.

Federal air quality standards are expected to tighten in the coming years for wood smoke, a known pollutant linked to many illnesses.

"It takes a while for people to get socialized to a new requirement," Douglas said, "so we really hope to get people to understand."

source ... d-air-days

Metro Vancouver’s proposed fireplace restrictions rile New West residents
Theresa McManus / New West Record

January 12, 2018 09:00 AM

Could the days of sitting around a cozy fire on a chilly winter’s night in the Royal City become a thing of the past?

Metro Vancouver has been seeking input on a proposed phased-in approach to regulating residential wood smoke emissions from indoor fireplaces in the region. It states that indoor residential wood burning is responsible for more than one-quarter of the fine particle emissions in the region – more than any other source.

“Obviously, we have the numbers, we have the data,” said Julie Saxton, an air quality planner with Metro Vancouver. “It’s been hard to convince people to believe the data.”

Kathleen Langstroth, president of the Queen’s Park Residents’ Association, said her family uses their home’s fireplace seven or eight times a year.

“I think the majority of people with wood-burning fireplaces use them on the odd occasion,” she recently told city council. “I don’t think there is many, if any, who use them for the sole purpose for heating their houses in the winter. It’s for the odd Sunday night dinner or family gathering where the fireplaces are used.”

Langstroth believes the proposed regulations could be an issue for New Westminster residents because of the large number of heritage homes in the city.

Steve Norman’s Queen’s Park house has four wood-burning fireplaces, but they’re only used a handful of times a year for special events. He said studies show New Westminster is already below the air quality proposals that Metro Vancouver is aiming to achieve in 2023.

“They are looking at $700 for an insert for each fireplace. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I think the idea of cutting down the atmospheric pollution is fine, but what are you going to do about all the other atmospheric causes? Fireplaces, I think, are a minor portion of it. The major portion is things like trucks and cars and industrial things. A thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how much cleaner the air is now than it used to be.”

But Saxton said the problem is the number of fireplaces in use in Metro Vancouver and the particles they emit.

“It’s the sheer number of these appliances that are in use in the region that is really contributing to the level of emissions,” she said. “I think the approximation is about 1,000 tonnes a year of fine particulate matter is from fireplaces. That is coming from about 70,000 fireplaces in the region. To compare that to the kind of industrial sources, the point sources, it is something less than 600 tonnes a year.”

If open-hearth fireplaces are emitting 10 times more particulate matter per hour than other sources, she said they don’t have to be used often to cause some “pretty significant” emissions – even if they’re only being used a few times a year for ambiance.

While Metro Vancouver tracks a variety of different pollutants, Saxton said it’s keen to reduce wood smoke emissions because of the health impacts associate with fine particulate matter.

“Fine particulate matter in the air is associated with respiratory and cardiac issues, particularly for people who are more susceptible. That would include infants, the elderly and people with existing heart and lung conditions – asthma, COPD, etc.,” she said.

According to Metro Vancouver, residential wood burning accounts for 27 per cent of the fine particles in the region’s air, followed by industry (16 per cent), non-road vehicles (11 per cent), marine vessels (11 per cent), light-duty vehicles (seven per cent) and heavy-duty vehicles (five per cent.) The region receives five to 25 complaints each month in the winter, with more than 60 per cent relating to residential wood burning.

“I think a lot of people have been surprised by this,” Saxton said of the statistics. “This has been fairly consistent over the last few emission inventories. Every five years Metro Vancouver does an inventory of the emissions in the region, the various different pollutants.”

While emissions from other sources have been going down through initiatives such as cleaner fuel standards for marine vessels and emissions control requirements on vehicles, Saxton said that’s not the case with residential wood burning.

Metro Vancouver is seeking feedback before Jan. 15, but will continue to accept feedback until a decision is made. Metro Vancouver’s board of directors is expected to consider a recommendation on the issue sometime this year.

“I would encourage people to read the information we have out there. There is a lot of detailed information. It’s really easy to kind of get very concerned about what we are proposing so we have tried to provide a lot of details in the discussion paper, which makes it a long read but we are interested in hearing from people,” Saxton said. “We want people’s feedback.”

More information about Metro Vancouver’s proposal can be found at Anyone wishing to provide feedback can email

What’s being proposed?

To tackle the air particulate emissions from wood smoke, Metro Vancouver is proposing a phased-in approach to dealing with the issue:

* A seasonal restriction on the use of indoor residential wood burning appliances between May 15 and Sept. 15 - beginning in May 2020. Appliances include fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

* Registration requirement for indoor residential wood burning appliances, based on the amount of particulate matter released – beginning in September 2022.

* Prohibition of residential wood smoke emissions from unregistered appliances, unless other conditions apply, from September 2025.

“Once we have those registrations in place, people who are not registered would not be able to emit wood smoke from their appliances in 2025, under the current proposals, if you are not registered – unless it is an emergency situation,” said Julie Saxon of Metro Vancouver’s air quality division. “Obviously, we all have awareness about emergency situations that can arise – power outages, storms, whatever – in which case people would be able to use any wood-burning appliance that they have. But otherwise, the wood smoke emissions would be prohibited from appliances that are unregistered.”

Under the proposed restrictions, fireplaces equipped with certified inserts would still be able to burn wood.

“There is a technology in inserts that makes the burning more efficient, that actually reduces the particulate emissions,” Saxon said. “All these proposals are aimed at trying to reduce the emissions of fine particulate matter.”

source ... 1.23141330


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Wood smoke may enter indoor living conditions

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 6:00 am | Updated: 3:42 pm, Fri Jan 12, 2018.

Now that cold weather has arrived, more Chaffee County homeowners and renters are stoking their fireplaces and wood stoves to provide warmth and comfort.

The downside, Chaffee County Public and Environmental Health reported in a press release, is the wood-smoke emissions of particulate matter (and a smorgasbord of air pollutants) that may linger in the air are entering indoor living conditions as well as people’s lungs.

source ... 3c981.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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