Recreational Fires Must Be Eliminated

Do you support clean air? Click the Facebook Like button if you have a Facebook account.


The air is smoky from burning wood in North St. Paul, MN, almost every evening. It is a nightmare. What used to be a nice place to live has become a living hell.

WARNING: If you buy a house in North St. Paul, MN, you will regret it! It may be the biggest, most expensive mistake you ever make. You will breathe smoky air almost every day of your life in this town. This is not an exaggeration. The wood smoke in this town gets heavy and gets heavy often. When you want to get out of this dump of a town, how many people do you think are going to want to buy a house in a city where heavy air pollution every night is normal and clean air is rare? This blog gets thousands of visitors every year. The word is out: North St. Paul is a horrible place to live!

Fresh air is very rare around here. If you are considering moving to North St. Paul or buying a home here, I strongly recommend that you do not do it no matter how good of a price you get. The only way you will be happy in this town is if you love breathing smoky air almost every day. North St. Paul, MN, is a horrible place to live because of the smoky air!

Burning wood, grass, leaves, paper, cardboard, and sometimes plastic, construction materials, and chemicals, if it is combustible it gets burned in North St. Paul and you are going to breathe it.

The air was smoky 25 out of 31 evenings in July 2009. We had 37 hours of continuous wood smoke in the air Aug. 29th - 31st. There was wood smoke in the air 19 consecutive evenings from Aug. 21st to Sept. 8th. It rained heavily on Aug. 20th, providing the only relief we got from wood smoke for almost three weeks.

Is this a good way to live? No. It is a horrible way to live. Take it from someone who knows. Breathing smoky, polluted air every day is misery.

Every day in this city several people are having recreational fires. Every evening the air is filled with the stench of burning wood. I am one person sick and tired of breathing smoky air every day. Is it too much to ask to be able to breathe fresh air in your own home?

Who is responsible for this wood smoke nightmare? The four city council members are responsible. Council members Jan Walczak, Bob Bruton, Terry Furlong, and Dave Zick have refused to do anything about this wood smoke problem. They don't care if you have a child with asthma. They don't care if you have to live like a shut-in because the air is so polluted. They don't care if your sinuses burn because the wood smoke is so heavy.

Our four Council members have defended the rights of a small percentage of households to burn wood daily over the rights of all the rest of us to breathe.

You have no right to breathe under Walczak, Bruton, Furlong, and Zick. Burners have the right to burn wood 49 hours a week recreationally. The rest of us have no rights at all.

If you are considering purchasing real estate in the city of North Saint Paul, Minnesota (55109), factor this blog carefully into your decision. Buying a home in this city means that your kids will breathe smoky air while playing in the yard almost every day. Your baby will breathe smoky air in her crib should you leave the windows open around your house. If you leave your windows open you will wake up in the middle of the night choking on smoky air.

Perhaps worst of all, your utility rates will be high because you will have to run the air conditioner instead of leaving the windows open on a cool summer evening. You have no other choice because almost every night the air is too smoky to breathe in this city. Consider this blog your warning.

North St. Paul, Minnesota, is a wonderful community other than the wood smoke. If we could restore fresh air like we used to enjoy, life would be happy again. But that is not going to happen any time soon.

Tell others about this blog!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday 05/19/2013 Air Pollution

I had a feeling someone would take advantage of the gap in the rain to burn.  My hunch was correct.

12:30 AM:  Very faint smoke of some type.  Possibly grass.

Spotty thunderstorms were in the forecast for tonight.

3:30 PM:  No smoke.  81 degrees, humid.  A storm is moving into the metropolitan area.

4:00 PM:  No wood or yard waste smoke.  Just the smell of a grill cooking food.  70 degrees, humid.

4:40 PM:  Very faint wood smoke.  Rain just starting.

5:05 PM:  Heavy rain and wind.

6:15 PM:  Rain stopped.  No smoke.  65 degrees and cloudy.

7:23 PM:  Faint to light smoke of some type.  Doesn't smell like a grill.

7:28 PM:  Faint wood smoke.  There it is.  It is supposed to rain later and somebody is using the gap between rain showers to burn wood.  This happens all the time.  Some people cannot resist burning in this town.

8:00 PM:  A very faint something is in the air.

8:32 PM:  Light wood smoke.  Close windows!

8:35 PM:  Smoke from minutes ago is mostly gone but the air is not fresh.  Must have been a shift in the breeze.

9:45 PM:  No smoke.

11:00 PM:  No smoke, light rain falling now.

Saturday 05/18/2013 Air Pollution

Not much wood smoke tonight.

3:57 PM:  Light grass smoke. 

4:30 PM:  No smoke.

5:25 PM:  81 degrees and humid. 

6:30 PM:  Air is not fresh at this time.

8:09 PM:  Very faint wood smoke.  80 degrees and humid. 

10:05 PM:  No smoke.

There was no other wood smoke this evening where we are.  I did see some bonfires burning when I was out.  There was not much of a breeze.  The bonfire smoke was rising straight up with a slight drift to the northwest.  We got lucky tonight.

Friday 05/17/2013 Air Pollution

Blossoms on trees and bushes are blooming all over the place. 

1:28 PM:  Very faint grass smoke.  60 degrees, cloudy.

2:00 PM:  Light grass smoke.

3:00 PM:  Light rain falling now.

3:55 PM:  Light drizzle.

5:00 PM:  No smoke.  The rain is finished.

6:15 PM:  No smoke.  59 degrees.

6:45 PM:  Rain sprinkle for a while until about 7:30 PM.

10:00 PM:  No wood smoke yet.  Thunder can be heard now.

Other than the yard waste smoke earlier in the afternoon, there was no wood or other smoke this evening due to weather conditions.

Thursday 05/16/2013 Air Pollution

5:20 PM:  Very faint to faint wood smoke.  82 degrees with thin clouds in the sky. 

5:32 PM:  Faint grass smoke.  Now I get it.  Somebody was starting a bonfire to burn yard waste.  This happens all the time in the city of North St. Paul, MN.

7:30 PM:  There is a faint smoke of some type in the air that really irritates my nose.

7:50 PM:  Faint wood smoke.

8:11 PM:  A faint smoke of some type continues.  I can't tell what it is.  Could be a combination of things like wood and waste.

8:46 PM:  The air is not fresh at this time though it is clearing.

10:00 PM:  No smoke!

11:40 PM:  Faint wood smoke.

11:47 PM:  Light to moderate waste smoke.  Some type of waste is being burned.  I cannot imagine what it is.  Wastes of all types are burned in this city.  Wood, grass, leaves, paper, plastic, cardboard, chemicals, you name it.  If it is combustible, it gets burned in North St. Paul.

Wednesday 05/15/2013 Air Pollution

It was a hot, windy day before and we made the mistake of going to bed with the windows open.  I woke to smell wood smoke blowing through the house.

2:30 AM:  Light to moderate wood smoke.  The house smells of wood smoke.  There is nothing we can do now but close the windows and hope the stench dissipates.  I do not like breathing smoky air when laying in bed.  Do you?

3:20 AM:  Faint wood smoke continues.  I am finding it difficult to get back to sleep.  North St. Paul sucks!

4:45 AM:  No smoke.  Open windows again to let the house cool.

There was not much wood smoke this evening.

4:41 PM:  No smoke.  76 degrees, sunny.

4:46 PM:  Faint to light wood and grass smoke.  Within minutes of writing that previous entry in my notebook somebody started burning.  There is an illegal yard waste burner out there somewhere.  The smoke lasted for about 5 minutes then was gone.

6:35 PM:  No smoke.  79 degrees and sunny.

There was no more wood or yard waste smoke this evening.

Tuesday 05/14/2013 Air Pollution

There was no wood smoke this evening until after 2:30 AM.  It was too hot and windy for bonfires until the air cooled.  I was lulled into complacency by the strong winds and thought we could get away with leaving the windows open and enjoy the wind blowing through the house as the night air cooled.  I was wrong.  In the past eight years or so we have gone to bed with the windows open only a few times.  Late night burning is common in North St. Paul.  You never know who will start burning after midnight.  It happens all the time in this town.  Some drunk gets home from the bar and decides he wants to smoke up the neighborhood and there is nothing we can do about it.

5:20 PM:  No smoke.  96 degrees and sunny with strong winds.  The high temperature reached a record 98 degrees in the Twin Cities for this day.

10:30 PM:  No smoke.  Strong winds continue.  We went to bed with the windows open as the night air was cooling fast. 

I woke up at 2:30 AM to smell wood smoke blowing through the house.  Even in strong winds burners will burn in North St. Paul.  Fire safety is not something you are going to see often among the pyromaniacs in this town.  I see dangerous burning all the time.  Burning right next to garages, under trees, burning leaves on windy days with burning embers flying all over.

Monday 05/13/2013 Air Pollution

There was no wood or yard waste smoke this evening.  It was a miracle!  We do not get evenings of fresh air like this often in North St. Paul.  It was windy this evening which may account for our lack of smoky air.

5:00 PM:  No smoke.  Sunny, windy, 68 degrees. 

5:40 PM:  No smoke.  70 degrees with strong wind gusts.

No smoke this evening  Wonderful fresh air!  That is something we do not get often in North St. Paul.

Sunday 05/12/2013 Air Pollution

Another smoky Sunday.  Never a day of rest from the burning when the weather permits.

4:35 PM:  Faint wood smoke at this time.  57 degrees and sunny.

4:53 PM:  Faint to light wood smoke varying with the breeze.

8:00 PM:  No smoke.

9:00 PM:  Faint wood smoke.

10:15 PM:  Faint wood smoke continues.  I saw two fires burning in the area at this time.  One was a recreational bonfire and I think the other was burning waste.  There is not much of a breeze at this time.  I am not sure which burner is making our air smoky.  This was the last check of the evening.

Saturday 05/11/2013 Air Pollution

There was almost no wood smoke in the air this evening.  The weather was not favorable for bonfires.

5:15 PM:  No smoke.  53 degrees, windy, mostly cloudy.

8:30 PM:  The air is not fresh.  There is something in the air that is not strong enough to tell what it is.

10:00 PM:  Very faint wood smoke.  Not much.

11:00 PM:  The air is not fresh but I cannot identify any pollutant in it.

Friday 05/10/2013 Air Pollution

It was a normal, very smoky Friday evening in North Saint Paul, Minnesota.

6:15 PM:  No smoke.  66 degrees and sunny.  Nice.

8:07 PM:  Light wood smoke coming in the windows.  Close the windows!  The bonfires are starting.

8:42 PM:  Faint to light wood smoke.

10:20 PM:  Moderate wood smoke.  The air is very smoky right now.  You don't want to breathe this air if you don't have to.  All over the neighborhood people who are not burning are inside their stuffy houses with their windows closed.

10:27 PM:  Moderate wood smoke.  Light rain just started to fall at this time.  Will it be enough to extinguish the bonfires?  No.  The rain lasted only minutes.

11:00 PM:  Another spotty shower for a few minutes.  Very faint wood smoke is in the air at this time.

Very faint wood smoke continued after 1:30 AM.

Thursday 05/09/2013 Air Pollution

There was no wood or yard waste smoke this evening.  Rain earlier in the day left everything wet.  It was windy and cloudy with a temperature of 50 degrees at 4:30 PM.

Wednesday 05/08/2013 Air Pollution

6:55 AM:  I stepped out of the house to smell very faint wood smoke in the air.  Could be from a fireplace, could be from a bonfire left smoldering all night long.  That happens all the time in this town.

I was told there was smoke from grass burning in the air around 9 AM.  I was not around to notice it.

The weather forecast called for rain this evening.

4:30 PM:  No smoke.  Cloudy, 74 degrees.

5:50 PM:  No smoke.  Light rain falling at this time.

There was no wood or yard waste smoke this evening due to spotty rain showers.

Tuesday 05/07/2013 Air Pollution

More waste burning this evening.  This year is the worst for waste burning ever!

1:00 PM:  I stopped home at this time t smell very faint grass smoke.  I wonder how often yard waste burning occurs during the day when I am not around to notice it.

4:10 PM:  No smoke.  76 degrees, sunny, beautiful.  A beautiful day for some illegal yard waste burning in North St. Paul for some people.

4:23 PM:  Very faint wood smoke.  Already it is starting.

4:27 PM:  Faint wood and grass smoke.  What yard waste burners like to do is start a bonfire then dump their grass clippings or other waste into it.  This happens all the time in North St. Paul.

4:42 PM:  Faint to light wood and grass smoke continues.  A little heavier than before.

5:08 PM:  Very faint to faint waste smoke.  I can't say what all is being burned.  75 degrees and sunny.

6:45 PM:  No smoke.  78 degrees.

There was no more wood or yard waste smoke pollution this evening up until I went to bed at 10:15 PM.

Monday 05/06/2013 Air Pollution

Welcome home to yard waste burning!  Trees are starting to bud and I saw flower blossoms on a tree for the first time today.

4:12 PM:  Very faint grass smoke varying with the breeze.  Somewhere off in the distance is an illegal yard waste burner.  73 degrees, mostly cloudy.

5:30 PM:  The air is not fresh at this time. 

6:30 PM:  Light grass smoke.  74 degrees and cloudy.

7:10 PM:  A very faint some of some type is in the air.  I do not know what it is.

8:30 PM:  No smoke where we are.  I went out this evening.  I found four homes within a tenth of a mile of city council member Jan Walczak's home burning this evening.  Three were burning wood and one was burning yard waste.  The closest burner to Walczak was across the street from her one house down.  Most of the smoke was drifting to the west-southwest.  It was a little smoky in front of her house as I passed down the road, the smoke is not heading her direction.  Funny thing was that she did not have her windows open.  Why not, Jan?  Let that wood smoke into your home.  We have to breathe smoky air every day because of you, the least you can do is let the smoke pollution you support into your home!

There was no more wood or yard waste smoke where we live this evening.

Sunday 05/05/2013 Air Pollution

It was a beautiful spring evening ruined by yard waste burning.  Every damn day in this horrible city people are burning.  Every day the air is smoky when the weather is nice.

5:00 PM:  No smoke.  Sunny, 66 degrees, beautiful!

6:15 PM:  No smoke.  There is a home burning yard waste in the area.  None of the smoke is making it down here.

7:15 PM:  No smoke.

7:44 PM:  Light to moderate smoke from burning grass.  Close the windows!

7:54 PM:  Light to moderate wood and waste smoke.  I can't say what all is being burned.  It reeks!

8:45 PM:  Faint yard waste smoke continues.  Why can't these asshole yard waste burners hurry up and get their burning done quickly so we can open our windows again?  I can see smoke rising from a second house in the area off in the distance.  The smoke is not coming our direction from either house.  There must be a third burner we are getting our smoke from.  There are two or more residents in the area burning at this time.

9:45 PM:  Light to moderate wood and waste smoke being burned.  It stinks!

11:00 PM:  No smoke but the air is not fresh.

None of our neighbors around us burn.  If the smoke is this heavy here, I shudder to think of how heavy it must be living next door to it.

North St. Paul sucks!

Saturday 05/04/2013 Air Pollution

The grass is turning green.

5:30 PM:  No smoke.  48 degrees, sunny.

6:45 PM:  Faint wood smoke comes and goes with the breeze.

8:00 PM:  Very faint wood smoke comes and goes.

9:00 PM:  No smoke.

11:00 PM:  No smoke. 

Friday 05/03/2013 Air Pollution

There was a little smoke in the air this evening that could have been from some recreational fireplace use.  The weather was bad for bonfires or waste burning.  It snowed a little in the morning.  Around 4 PM or so we had sleet and freezing rain in the Twin Cities. 

8:30 PM:  Very faint to faint wood smoke.  Probably from a fireplace.  35 degrees.

10:45 PM:  Very faint wood smoke comes and goes.

Thursday 05/02/2013 Air Pollution

There was no smoke pollution this evening because of unfavorable weather.  There was a little snow this morning that quickly melted away.  The temperature at 5:30 PM was 47 degrees.  It was wonderful to step outside and take a deep breath of clean air!  We cannot do that often in this polluted dump of a city.

Wednesday 05/01/2013 Air Pollution

There was no wood or waste smoke this evening due to bad weather.  The temperature at 5:30 PM was 38 degrees.  It rained with sleet earlier in the day.  There was light drizzle around 6:30 PM.

We get an evening of precious clean air thanks to bad weather!

Tuesday 04/30/2013 Air Pollution

More burning this evening.  Every day somebody is burning wood or some type of waste.  Every miserable day!

4:55 PM:  Light waste smoke.  I don't know what is being burned but it stinks terrible.  68 degrees, cloudy.  Close the windows!

5:15 PM:  Faint waste smoke coming and going.

5:45 PM:  Faint wood smoke.  No chance of opening the windows for a while.

6:00 PM:  No smoke.

There was no more wood or waste smoke pollution this evening.

Monday 04/29/2013 Air Pollution

There was no wood smoke tonight.  But as always, somebody was burning something and tonight it was more yard waste.  Where are these people getting the yard waste from so soon after the snow melted?

5:10 PM:  No smoke.  73 degrees, partly cloudy, beautiful. 

6:15 PM:  No smoke.  73 degrees, mostly cloudy.

6:48 PM:  Faint grass smoke.  More yard waste burning.  There is more yard waste burning this year than ever before!

7:25 PM:  Faint smoke from something unknown.  I don't know what the hell is being burned now.

8:05 PM:  No smoke.

There was no more smoke pollution this evening.  This is about as good as it gets in hell on earth North St. Paul.

Sunday 04/28/2013 Air Pollution

There is no day of rest for burning in North St. Paul.  You cannot enjoy a relaxing Sunday without smoke from wood or yard waste coming into your home in this horrible city.

4:30 PM:  No smoke.  77 degrees, sunny, a little warm for this time of year but nice.

4:45 PM:  Faint smoke from something being burned, I don't know what.  Close the windows!  The smoke is blowing in from the south.

5:10 PM:  No smoke.  80 degrees.  Storm clouds are moving in.

5:48 PM:  No smoke.  Cloudy now.  Storms have made their way into the northwest metro.

6:27 PM:  A few drops of rain fell then stopped.

6:40 PM:  Faint to light grass smoke.  Somebody took the opportunity to burn some yard waste during a gap in the rain.  Where are they getting the yard waste from?  The ground was covered with snow five days ago, yards are too soft to rake.

6:44 PM:  Very faint grass smoke continues.

6:50 PM:  No smoke.

7:00 PM:  No smoke.

7:50 PM:  Faint to light grass smoke.

8:10 PM:  Light to moderate possible wood and waste being burned.  It reeks!  Some type of waste is being burned.

I did not bother to check the air any more this evening.  The air was smoky again this evening and I need to document no further.

Saturday 04/27/2013 Air Pollution

12:05 AM:  Very faint to faint wood smoke continues.

1:00 AM:  No smoke.

3:00 AM:  Light to moderate wood smoke.  It smells like two-by-fours are being burned.  Burning of waste is common in North St. Paul, MN.  This isn't smoke from logs.  This smells like construction materials.    There is no real breeze at this time.  Wherever the burning is happening, the smoke is drifting down and hanging in the air.  I can see a smoky haze in the street lights.  The temperature is 51 degrees in the Twin Cities and may be a few degrees cooler in the suburbs.  With a temperature this low it could be a fireplace being used.  I can't think of why anyone would use a fireplace at 3 AM.

6:00 AM:  No smoke.  Fresh air!  Open the windows!

It was another smoky night in North St. Paul.

4:40 PM:  The air is not fresh.  There is something in it even if I can't identify it. 

5:15 PM:  No smoke.  74 degrees, sunny, very nice. 

5:30 PM:  Very faint wood smoke coming and going on the breeze.  Somebody is burning.  It turned out to be asshole frequent burner burning for the first of what will be many times this season.  Close the windows!

6:45 PM:  Light wood smoke from asshole frequent burner comes and goes.

7:00 PM:  Faint wood smoke.

7:05 PM:  Light grass smoke.  We had snow on the ground three days ago.  Where is asshole frequent burner getting the yard waste?  Is it left over from last year?

8:00 PM:  No smoke.  Could asshole frequent burner be done?  He usually burns for hours at a time.

Went out after this time.  Smoky patches could be found all over the northern half of the city.  Wood, yard waste, it was all being burned here and there.  I saw 10 bonfires in an area of about three-quarters mile wide by a half mile north to south.  I was not trying to look for them.  I happened to pass that many.

9:35 PM:  Light wood smoke.  Now the bonfires are going strong.  It is going to be a long, smoky night.

10:40 PM:  Light wood smoke continues.  This was my last check of the evening.  I did not wake until morning.

Friday 04/26/2013 Air Pollution

The first nice evening of spring was smoky as I knew it would be.  If the weather is nice, the evening air is smoky almost always.

5:00 PM:  No smoke.  71 degrees, no smoke.  Sunny, beautiful.  Another evening soon to be ruined by smoky air.  The heat is off for the first time since October, the windows are open, and that means people will be burning tonight.

6:30 PM:  No smoke.

11:00 PM:  Very faint to faint wood smoke in the air.  It is enough to require closure of windows before bed.

The air did not get really smoky until well after midnight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Burning season starts soon!

It has been a long winter.  With temperatures running a good 10 - 20 degrees below normal for the past two months, spring arrives in a big way today and with it will come smoky air.  With this city's many bonfire burners not having burned for 5 months or longer, there is a lot of pent-up pyromania that will be unleashed probably as soon as tonight as the temperature is forecast to reach 70 today.  Most of the snow we got this past Tuesday has melted and the ground may be a little soft, but that will not stop burners in this town.  The rule of living in North St. Paul is that if the weather is nice enough to open the windows in the evening, you will not be able to because the air will be smoky.

Winter is the least smoky season in North St. Paul, MN.  As with most winters, the evening air was smoky half or a little more of the time in November and December but after the new year arrives, recreational fireplace use drops.  From December through last week the air was smoky at 7 AM only twice all winter.  After the new year, we had very little smoke in the evening air.  It was nice to go outside and take a deep breath of clean, fresh air which is something we usually cannot do in this city because of all the nightly burning.

I believe the last time I looked at this blog or checked my emails was last November.  I really neglected this blog last year and did not make regular updates as I have been since spring 2008 when this blog was started.  As a result of not posting regularly, the number of visitors to this blog in 2012 dropped by well over 3,000 visitors from 2011.  I still have all the burning data in my notepad and I will update for 2012 soon.

I have dozens of emails to read through so that may take me a few days.  I am back and soon the smoke pollution will be back as it always is.