Burning Issues

Lets Raise Our Voices

Contributions from Concerned Citizens.


"I remember a January in Fairbanks when the temperature stayed around -45o for a week. Any bit of moisture in the air turned to crystals, creating an ice fog. It is haunting and beautiful to see the exhalations of a herd of caribou hanging over them like a cloud in that cold, or breath trailing behind a gliding snowy owl. But in Fairbanks, where the fog from furnaces and cars and wood fires was suspended just above the streets, it was oppressive. It blurred the edges of buildings and muffled the sound of the already obscure passing car.In the witless gray light, ravens .hunkered on the tops of telephone poles in the white vapor, staring down, cawing that ear-splitting caw. I never felt anything so prehistoric." (Lopez, 1986)


CA: Central Coast.

"Take yourself off the list of major polluters. Don't burn wood."

"Smoke! What's It Good For?

Bad air, bad hair, bad lungs, bad paint job, bad heart, bad trees,
 no trees, no air, can't breathe,
It's good for asthma, emphysema, whatever ails ya
congestive heart, sudden heart death, sudden oak death
it hangs around, settles in, fools you, you like the smell
it sucks the air out of you.
one more log for the dead road
ah, romance, we all need inhalers" 12/01,M.P.,San Louis Obispo


CA: San Francisco Bay Area

Freeway #280: "It is like driving through a burning forest.
 The smoke is overwhelming."12/17/01, D.N., San Jose

CA: North Coast

"We are still looking for a smoke free place to live.
 We are going in our trailer to get away from people as much as we can."
 Lupus Patient


Hi, We have a neighbor who has an external wood stove and it is causing smoke to
invade our house.

We were looking for a video on this subject, environmental speaker, study,
conference with speaker, etc that we can show our city council to emphasis
the impact that the smoke is having on our 2 young children and my husband
that has asthma. Do you know where we can get a hold of one?

We have found you web site to be very beneficial in our struggle.
Thank you for your time!!!!DF,Seneca, KS

 NY State:

ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISM: Welcome to the Trenches March 1, 2003by L. Backus, B.A., Historical Studies, M.A. candidate, E. Backus, B.S., Health Science/Respiratory Therapy <lisa.maria@mindspring.com>



Do you know of any counties or cities along the Oregon coast that do not
allow wood-burning or leaf burning of any kind? Is there a list of such
"clean air" places?

We need help here in our neighborhood, appropriately named "Smokerise
subdivision".... There is no law in Forsyth county that prohibits burning
leaves. These rednecks seem to have developed the ability to produce maximum
amounts of smoke from every oak leaf in their yards. I've printed up flyers
and distributed them throughout the community, talking about leaf burning
being an unfriendly act, let's protect our children, etc., and many have
responded to the Smokerise Clean Air Group's plea. What I need is some sort
of framework for making this a legal issue, and bringing more public
exposure to this situation. Can you people help in any way with this? MC

Thanks to Dorothy Robinson Australia.

Limericks and Letters about Sydney's smoke pollution

Our valley fills with pollution
Shouldn't we find a solution?
A few wood-smokers cry
..cough, gasp, wheeze... "tell me why
we need this ..cough.. Healthy Clean-Air Revolution?"

Sunshine is abundant and free
And there's sustainable wind energy
If we powered our homes
With these watts, volts and ohms
What a clean, clever country we'd be!

When our valley fills with smoke
Asthmatics and others may choke
But if solar heaters we fit
We'd less often get sick
And be happier healthier folk.

Interestingly ... last week's ABC "Best of Landline" talked about 0.7 Megawatt wind turbines which cost about $1 million to install (less if they could be made locally) and would provide power for 3,500 homes.   I think they probably meant 350 homes, but even at that price, the cost is almost comparable with a new wood heater.   For Armidale, solar heating still seems the best & cheapest option - but wind energy may be a very good choice for some places.

I also received the following email today concerning the smoke pollution in Sydney:
"Perhaps some letters pointing out that wood burnt in fireplaces has the same effect would be helpful. The study with 400 deaths below is about wood heaters not bushfires. "

Sounds like a good idea - anyone?  letters@smh.fairfax.com.au
I looked up the EPA's website.  Daily average PM10 pollution yesterday in Sydney ranged from 61 micrograms per cubic metre in Liverpool to 85 in Earlwood.  We've actually measured a daily average 147 micrograms per cubic metre in East Armidale.  Sydney may be badly affected by smoke, but a number of incorrectly operated woodheaters pooling smoke into a stagnant airshed can be even worse.   The problem of bushfires may be difficult to solve, but we should and could do more about continuously smoking chimneys.

Actually, the SMH article is a bit confusing.  I believe the 237 etc are the EPA Air pollution index, which is different from the micrograms per cubic metre John Dengate talks about (and the 61-85 or 147 for East Armidale I cite above, which are daily average PM10 concentrations).

Burning Issues
Box 1045
Point Arena CA 95468
Tel: 707-882-3601
Email: [pm10mary at mcn dot org]
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