Recreational Fires Must Be Eliminated

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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!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Action in Maplewood and hopefully other communities

I got a few more emails since last I checked my inbox ( They have all been from supporters. One person asked me why I haven't updated my blog recently. The reason is because it is winter now and it is expected that the air will be smoky.

Every house in the city just about is connected to natural gas lines. It was forecast that natural gas prices would be up significantly this winter, but that never happened as a result of falling energy prices. I was hoping that burning of wood wouldn't be the primary source of home heating for people. Sadly, it seems to be.

For the most part the air in my section of North St. Paul is smoky 24 hours a day. It is smoky in the morning, smoky in the evening, smoky on weekend days, and even mildly smoky right now at 1 AM. Being that it is winter, the windows are all closed. The only time you experience smoky air is when you are outside going to your vehicle or getting some exercise.

Even in the winter I would prefer to breathe clean, fresh air than smoky air. But it's wintertime, so what can you do? People don't want to pay for natural gas, so they pollute the air instead.

I did a little search for my blog URL and found that someone mentioned it on the Star Tribune website in the comments section for an article. I discovered that it was an article about wood smoke.

That's the problem with recreational burning: you cannot escape the smoky air--not in your home, not in your yard, no where. If you have your windows open, your home fills with smoke. I have experienced this. The smoke odor lingers in the carpeting and draperies for days. If you want to sit outside and enjoy the evening or play in the yard with your kids, you are forced to breathe smoky air. Do you think little children want to breathe smoky air? Does anyone?

The people who burn are the ones who are least likely to suffer from their actions. If you have a recreational fire, you sit upwind from it so the smoke doesn't blow in your face. Right? But that smoke does blow away. It blows downwind and right into the faces of everyone who isn't burning. It blows into their homes and into their lungs. The person burning doesn't get his house filled with smoke. He doesn't have smoky air in his face. But the majority of people who are not burning do.

Is that fair? Is it fair for hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are not burning to be forced to breathe smoky air because the city governments want to protect the ability of the minority to burn?

On my block in North St. Paul which includes the houses on my side of the street, across the street, and directly behind me, there are about 45 homes total. Of those 45 homes, I noticed recreational fires at only five of them this past summer. That's a total of 11% of homes that burn wood during the spring and summer on my block, 89% of homes don't burn. Of those five homes that burn, one burns almost every day (wood and yard waste), two more burn 3 - 4 times per week, the family down the street burns about once per week, and the family across the street burned about five times all last summer.

Why should people who live in the 89% of homes that don't burn--many elderly--have to breathe smoky air because of the small minority of 11% of homes that do burn? Does anyone prefer smoky air over fresh, clean air? How can anyone argue that people would prefer to breathe smoky air over clean air?

Do you think an 80-year-old man wants to breathe smoky air every day? Do you think that elderly man wants to have to run around his house closing windows so his house doesn't reek of wood smoke? How can anyone argue that he would?

How can any politician defend protecting the ability of the small minority of burners to continue frivolous, unnecessary, air pollution causing burning over the right of the majority to breathe fresh air?

Everyone must breathe the air; nobody needs to burn wood for recreational purposes. Very few people are going to prefer breathing smoky air over breathing clean, fresh air.

I saw a letter to the editor recently in the Pioneer Press from a person complaining about the city of Maplewood's task force studying the problem of wood smoke. It looks like the city council members in Maplewood are listening to their residents, unlike Jan Walczak and the others here in North St. Paul.

On the morning of July 4th of this year I went for a bike ride from my home in North St. Paul to Lake Phalen in St. Paul. From White Bear Ave. and County Road C all the way to Phalen the air was smoky in the city of Maplewood--at 6 AM! Even when I was crossing the trail bridge at Highway 36 the air smelled like wood smoke. I had to breathe smoky air for most of the duration of my bike ride. That's how smoky it was in Maplewood that morning. So it looks like the residents of Maplewood and other cities are going through what we are going through here in North St. Paul.

I wish you Maplewood residents the best of luck with your wood smoke problem. Even though I don't live in your city, I travel through Maplewood almost every day since Maplewood envelopes North St. Paul on three sides. I also enjoy walks in the evening which take me through the northern part of Maplewood. Even though I'm not a resident, I still breathe that wood smoke.

I am going to send emails to your city council members and give them my two cents and my encouragement. If we here in North St. Paul can't breathe fresh air, I hope you people in Maplewood can. I wish you Maplewood residents the best of luck.

I only hope that one day we all can breathe fresh, clean air and not air filled with the putrid stench of burning wood.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Burning Log

Thursday 10/02/2008: Another cool evening. It was smoky 7 to 8 PM and not much after that.

Friday 10/03/2008: This was a smoky evening. Cool. Probably a fireplace burning. It doesn't matter what the source of wood smoke is, it fouls up the air all the same.

Saturday 10/04/2008: Another cool evening, low 50s. A little smoky around 8 PM. By 9:30 PM the air was nice and clear and remained clear the entire night.

Sunday 10/05/2008: Noticed no burning this day.

Monday 10/06/2008: A beautiful, warm day! The high temperature was around 70 degrees. An absolutely gorgeous evening to sit outside on the deck. There was no wood smoke detected at all this evening. Nothing but fresh air!

Tuesday 10/07/2008: Early to bed. No burning detected.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday 10/01/2008 Burning

7:00 PM: A neighbor has his fireplace going. Smoke is spewing out of the chimney. I went for a walk around the block. The whole neighborhood reeks because of that one guy. I saw no one else with fireplaces going other than him. He is the sole polluter at this time. It is a powerful stench. It has a strong, ammonia-like punch to it. It is terribly offensive and annoying to the nose. It turns your stomach.

Most people would cook some food to warm the house. He has to smoke up the entire neighborhood because he doesn't want to spend a buck to heat his house for the evening. All the walkers and joggers (there are several in this area every evening) have to breathe that stinky ammonia-like smoke because he's too cheap to run his furnace.

Tuesday 09/30/2008 Burning

7:30 PM: Light smokiness at this time. Doesn't last more than half-an-hour before it is gone. Fresh air for the remainder of the evening.

Monday 09/29/2008 Burning

7:00 PM: Very smoky. The guy down the street is burning wood in his backyard. Horrible stench of burning wood. Absolutely horrible! He's burning something else along with the wood that stinks even worse. I am not sure what it is.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emails from supporters and other fresh air lovers

I don't check my email too often. Most of what I get is just harassing emails. I got a few emails from supporters and residents of other cities just as concerned about smoky air as I and my neighbors are.

I'd like to say hi to the people at the Clean Air Revival website at Sorry for my late acknowledgment.

I got an email from Kiwiwnpd a few days ago who claims to be a Maplewood resident. Kiwiwnpd writes:
I am hoping your blog is not a joke (someone who loves woodsmoke making fun of the rest of us). I don't think it is.

I live in Maplewood. I have a journal exactly like yours. There have been 46 times since May we have been unable to be outside-close windows, the whole deal.

Plus, in our new suburban neighborhood of 1/4 acre lots, it is now fashionable to heat with wood. So Oct-April there is woodsmoke 24 hours a day.
Kiwiwnpd, I assure you that this blog is not a joke. I set up this blog out of frustration and to document the daily smoky air in this city that is making life a living hell. I do not know too many people who like smoky air. I do not know anyone who wants to breathe smoky air in their bedrooms at night when they are trying to sleep.

You are right about Maplewood being a smoky city. On the morning of July 4th I was going through the city of Maplewood and it was very smoky the entire way from Co. Rd. C and White Bear Ave. to Lake Phalen. At 6 AM the stench of burnt wood is all that could be smelled.

In another email to me Kiwiwnpd writes:
OK, I just emailed you. We are going through the same thing with Maplewood city govt..please email me...there is a bully mentality as you have discovered, but there are more who feel like you do (in Mpls, St Anthony and other cities) and are angry about it. It's good to connect us all.
Kiwiwnpd, is there a website where you are communicating with people in other cities? Do you know if there is any attempt to get recreational burning regulated at the state or county level? If so, please send me another email to let me know.

I got an email from Julie, this time a Minneapolis resident dealing with smoky air just like we are in North St. Paul. Julie writes:
I saw your blog on wood smoke and would like you to know that I also am concerned about the hazards of wood smoke pollution. But I think Minneapolis is even more polluted with wood smoke than N. St. Paul! It is disturbing that our public officials don't seem to want to do anything.
Julie, I don't know if it is possible for any community to be smokier than North St. Paul. Rare is it that we have a day when no one is burning.

What bothers me most about these burners is that the smoke from their fires leaves their property. They don't have to breathe their own smoke, but everyone downwind from them does!
As for the website link you gave me, Julie, it takes me to an advertising page. There's nothing on it other than links to advertisements. So I won't link to it here. Doing a search for your name brings me to a Star Tribune article you wrote back in late 2007. So I know you are legitimate.

As for what you say about public officials not wanting to do anything, you are right. My own contacts with the local elected leaders have resulted in a big fat nothing. Most people in my area do not burn, only a small minority do. On my block, including the row of houses directly behind me and the row of houses behind the homes across the street, there are about 50 homes. Of those 50 homes, there are only 5 that burn wood. Non-burners comprise 90% of the homes and have to breathe smoky air while the mayor and city council protect the ability of the minority to burn wood every day.

I have spoken to neighbors about this issue. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: they can't stand the smoky air. But when it comes to making our voices heard, they get timid. Some people are willing to suffer in silence instead of making their voices heard to effect change.

The only way I can think of to get those too timid to make some noise to join the effort to clean up the air is to find others who are less timid and hope the more timid ones are encouraged to join in. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

Thanks to those who have contacted me with encouragement and those who are suffering from the same smoky, polluted air in their communities. We need to attract more attention to this issue. I will be attempting to get some coverage from journalists before the local election in November. Maybe one of the candidates for city council will be willing to take on this issue since none of the incumbents have.

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out. Mention this blog to others. Also, if you know others who are suffering from smoky air, encourage them to set up blogs to document the polluted conditions in their own communities. Setting up a blog on Blogspot is free and only takes a few minutes. Complaining about something is one thing. Providing documentation of the conditions you endure helps others to get an idea of what you are going through.

Sunday 09/28/2008 Burning

8:00 PM: Faint smokiness from burning wood way off in the distance.

8:45 PM: Heavy stench of burning wood blowing on the wind.

9:00 PM: Smokiness has reduced. Now only faint smokiness again.

It is about 60 degrees this evening.

Saturday 09/27/2008 Burning

12:30 PM: Air is already getting smoky at this time.

1:00 PM: Air is getting smokier. Air smells like burning wood and leaves. People are probably burning their yard waste.

2:00 PM: Heavy smokiness. It reeks! Wind blowing intermittently East then West. Smoky air is coming from both directions, heaviest from the West.

3:00 PM: The stench of smoke has cleared.

4:30 PM: Guy down the street who used to burn every day, but has reduced his burning in the past two months, is burning something. Whatever it is, he is burning a lot of it. It is probably grass as he is a grass burner. The wind is not blowing this direction so I cannot smell it.

6:30 PM: Guy down the street is still burning.

7:00 PM: Light smokiness in the air.

8:00 PM: Still light smokiness in the air.

9:00 PM: Still light smokiness.

10:00 PM: Still light smokiness. Going to bed with the windows closed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday 09/26/2008 Burning

8:00 PM: Getting smoky at this time. Light smokiness from burning wood.

9:00 PM: Moderate smokiness from burning wood.

10:00 PM: Moderate smokiness from burning wood.

11:45 PM: Light to moderate smokiness from burning wood depending on wind direction. It is a breezy evening with the wind blowing North and East. The smoke odor is strongest when wind is blowing out of the South. Assumption is that someone to the South is burning wood.

Recreational fires are supposed to be extinguished by 11 PM. It does not seem to matter. It really doesn't because smoky air is smoky air whether it is at 7 PM or 12 AM. Smoky air at 7 PM is no less irritating than smoky air at midnight.

Other than the mayor and city council members, who in the city of North St. Paul enjoys smoky air?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thurdsay 09/25/2008 Burning

5:00 PM: Air smells smoky at this time. Wood smoke, not a charcoal grill. Air was smoky for about an hour or so. After this, only very light intermittent smokiness. After 8 PM, the air was clear.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday 09/24/2008 Burning

5:30 PM: Starting to smell light wood smoke on the wind.

8:00 PM: Very heavy stench of burning wood fills the air. You can't breathe it is so heavy! Horrible polluted air!

9:00 PM: Still heavy smoke. The smoke is so strong sticking your head out the back door to get a whiff stings your nose.

10:00 PM: Heavy, nauseating stench of wood smoke outside.

Thanks Jan Walczak.

Tuesday 09/23/2008 Burning

Storms this evening. Heavy wind and rain. Nobody burned. It was great.

Monday 09/22/2008 Burning

6:30 PM: There was a light odor of burning wood at this time. It lasted for about half-an-hour then disappeared. Rain was moving in this evening. The wind was blowing to the West, someone to the East was burning wood this evening.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello European Visitors!

I have been receiving visitors from Europe to this blog the past couple of weeks. So I want to take the time to say hello to you all!

We've been getting visitors from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, and a few other European nations. We even had a few visitors from Australia. That's in addition to the visitors from Canada and all across the United States.

I never imagined that I would get visitors from all over the world.

Thanks for visiting!

Comments Turned Off For Good

I have had enough of the harassing comments left by visitors to this blog so I have disabled commenting entirely. You could not imagine some of the stupid comments left by people. I can't even discuss some of them on a family blog. No more comments!

If you wish to read this blog, please do. I welcome the readership. Dozens of people read this blog on most days, many from the Twin Cities area.

If you want others to read this blog, please link to it. I would appreciate drawing as much attention to this issue as possible. I know that others feel the same way I do, not just in my city, but in cities all across the metro area.

If you want to discuss this blog on other discussion boards, that is your right.

If you want to harass me by leaving nasty comments and threats of violence, you can't do that anymore. You will have to find other venues for your entertainment.

Sunday 09/21/2008 Burning

You guessed it, another smoky evening in North St. Paul! This evening's smokiness was light compared to the prior three nights. The stench of burning wood wasn't so strong that it made you sick, but it was enough to the point you could smell it and wouldn't want it in your house.

Is there anyone who wants to lie in bed at night trying to sleep with smoky air coming in the windows? Anyone? How about you, Ms. Walczak? How about you, Mayor Kuehn? Do you like smoky air in your bedroom? Does smoky air help you sleep soundly? Do you wake refreshed with a bedroom reeking of burnt wood?

Catching Up With The North St. Paul Burning Log

Sorry I have neglected updates the past few weeks. Thanks to you readers for not abandoning my blog. Every single day I get visitors to this blog. It's nice to know that others are reading it.

Burning of wood in the city of North Saint Paul:

Saturday 08/30/2008
State Fair day. Got back before 11 PM. The air was smoky as hell. Could hardly breathe after driving into North St. Paul. Fortunately, the windows were all closed up and the AC was on. Otherwise, the house would have reeked of a burning log!

Month of September 2008:
We got some much needed rain this month. Rain puts a damper on the recreational burning of wood. Combined with some cooler than average temperatures, people haven't been burning as much. But they are still burning a lot of wood in this city.

08/31/2008 - 09/06/2008:
Temperatures were in the 80s the first few days of this week then the temps dropped to the upper 60s for highs. By mid-week, there was only one day where there was burning of wood. Wednesday, Sept. 3rd was a smoky evening. I was sitting outside enjoying a cloudy evening when I was forced back inside by the smoky air.

Friday 09/05/2008 was very smoky as well. Every breathe you took outside was filled with the horrid stench of burning wood. It's horrible. It's the only thing you can smell. It's like being in a log cabin that is burning down around you. All you smell is smoke smoke smoke smoke! Every breath you take is smoky air in North St. Paul!

I don't recall if it was smoky on the Saturday of this week. I believe it rained. I didn't make good notes on this day.

09/07/2008 - 09/13/2008
More cooler temperatures this week helped reduce the unnecessary air pollution from recreational burning. It is so nice to breathe fresh air, you can't imagine how happy I am when it isn't smoky outside!

Wednesday Sept. 10th was smoky. Yes, somebody decided to burn some wood. Who? I don't know. It wasn't anyone nearby. That smoke drifts on the wind and you can smell it at least a mile from its source, possibly even further.

Friday Sept. 12th was smoky as hell. Nobody around me was burning, it could have been someone a block or two over. Who knows. All I know is that the windows had to remain shut all damn night. We are talking nice, cool nights. The high this day was low 70s. No need to keep the house all closed up. In a normal town you should not have to keep your windows closed all the time. But in the city of N. St. Paul you don't have much choice.

Saturday Sept. 13th was another smoky as hell evening. Even the early rain couldn't put a damper on people's desire to torch some wood for recreational purposes. And the 95% of us who never burn wood have to breathe the damn smoky air because of the mayor and city council's refusal to address this issue!

Sunday 09/14/2008
I noticed no burning this day. I turn in earlier now that I must be up earlier. I am often in bed by 9 PM, windows closed, of course. So I am not tracking any burning after that time.

Monday 09/15/2008
No burning. Kind of cool this day.

Tuesday 09/16/2008
Yes, more burning of wood for recreational purposes this evening. The temperature is back up near 80 degrees. I guess people can't resist the urge to sit around a pile of burning wood.

Too bad, because there are hundreds, if not thousands of us who have to breathe that smoky air from one person's recreational fire. Hundreds or a thousand or more people have to endure smoky air because of one person, and the mayor and city council thinks it is good.

Wednesday 09/17/2008
More burning of wood this evening. It isn't sickeningly strong smoke like it is on the weekends, but it is strong enough to be offensive. It isn't anything anyone would want to smell in their home. That's probably why my neighbors have their windows closed.

Thursday 09/18/2008
More burning. That's three days in a row that people have been burning wood in the evening. Earlier in the month I had hoped that most of the recreational burning was done for the year. Having lived in this city for a few years, I should have known better.

North St. Paul is a burner's paradise, thanks to city council member Jan Walczak and Mayor Mike Kuehn. I'm surprised there are any trees left in this city with the high tendency to burn anything combustible in this screwed up town!

Satan would love North St. Paul. Fire and brimstone or smoky wood, which is worse? Maybe Satan does live in North St. Paul. Maybe he's the mayor or on the city council? That would explain why the city is such a smoky hell and miserable place to live!

Friday 09/19/2008
If you were to wager on whether or not the air was smoky this evening, on which side would you wager? Smoky, or not smoky? If you picked smoky, congratulations, you are a winner! Betting that any evening is going to be without smoke would be a sucker's bet. It's smoky a majority of the evenings in North St. Paul. And that is why living here is hell!

Another evening of wood smoke so strong it turns your stomach and burns your nose. Thanks very much, Jan Walczak. You blew me off when I turned to you for help. You have made life in this city a living hell.

Saturday 09/20/2008
Another day in Lucifer's garden. The burning started early today. By 11:30 AM someone was burning wood in the area of Helen and 15th. All day long it was smoky air, and it got even worse once the sun went down!

During the day, it didn't matter which direction the wind was blowing, the air was smoky. When the wind blew one direction, it was strong, when it briefly changed directions, it was weak, until it changed direction again.

There is no happiness in North St. Paul with air quality so poor. This is a terrible place to live.

I left the windows closed all night. By the time I went to bed around 11 PM the air was so smoky you couldn't breathe it. When I woke up around 5:30 AM Sunday morning you could still smell the smokiness in the air.

All day and all night the air was smoky! All damn day and all damn night!

Another smoky as hell evening in North St. Paul

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday 08/29/2008 Burning

It is a smoky night in North St. Paul.

There was very light wood smoke from about 5 PM on to 7:30 PM.

7:30 PM: At this time it got really smoky. Heavy stench of smoke, had to close all the windows and sit in a hot stuffy house. I went for a walk around the block this evening and spied a guy sitting around a roaring fire in his backyard. I wanted to thank that jerk for smoking up the air we must breathe. I bit my tongue and kept walking. This is the first time I've ever seen a fire at that house. A new burner. Yaaay!

9:00 PM: Still very smoky.

10:00 PM: Not as smoky as before, but you can smell it.

11:00 PM: Smells like onions and burning wood outside. Not pleasant air to breathe. No sir.

I stepped outside at this time and two of my neighbor's air conditioners kicked on the two minutes I was out. There is no real need for air conditioning this evening as cool as it is, about 70 degrees. We have no choice but to waste electricity to keep the air conditioning on because the air is too foul to breathe. I wonder how much electricity and money is wasted by residents in the city of North Saint Paul because everyone has to keep the windows shut at night.

What do you think, city council members and mayor? I keep getting crap in the mail reminding me of the benefits of energy conservation. Is leaving the AC on because the air is fouled by burning wood a good way to conserve electricity?

Thurdsay 08/28/2008 Burning

Light smokiness from about 4:30 PM on to 7 PM, then it died down. I was forced to get out of bed at 10:30 PM and run around the house closing windows because some jerk decided to burn some wood.

Wednesday 08/27/2008 Burning

Nobody burned at all this day. It was terrific to breathe fresh air all evening long!

Tuesday 08/26/2008 Burning

Light smokiness from 4:30 PM on to roughly 7 PM. It was threatening rain so that kept the burners at bay. After that time, nobody burned. I slept with the windows open and awoke to a wonderfully cool house!

Monday 08/25/2008 Burning

Light smokiness from burning wood between the hours of 5 PM and 8 PM. After that, nobody burned. Nothing but fresh air. I love it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday 08/24/2008 Burning

12:00 AM: Still extremely smoky outside.

2:15 AM: Woke up, stuck my head out the back door. The air is still smoky. Not extremely smoky like before, but smoky enough to be uncomfortable to breathe.

4:30 AM: Woke up, checked the air. The air is still lightly smoky. Smells like smoke and the remnants of burnt wood.

8:00 AM: Rise and shine. The air outside smells like burnt wood. Nobody is burning at this time. The odor of leftover ash and burnt logs fills the air. Horrible stink!

4:00 PM: Light smokiness from someone burning wood. There is a bit of a breeze, so the smokiness isn't constant.

This mild, intermittent smokiness lasted until about 7 PM. After 7 PM nobody burned for the rest of the night! Wonderful cool air without the horrid stench of burning wood that council member Jan Walczak loves so much!

I'll bet council member Walczak is disappointed because the residents of her community actually can breathe fresh air for a change. "My subjects don't deserve fresh air! Let them breathe smoke and pollution!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday 08/23/2008 Burning

1:00 AM: I woke up and decided to stick my head out the back door to check the air quality in North Saint Paul. Still very smoky at this time. The air outside is uncomfortable to breathe to say the least.

8:00 PM: Getting smoky at this time. Very smoky. The guy down the street burned some wood for about an hour. Then the smoke from him stopped, but the air still reeked of smoke from other burners that I couldn't see.

9:00 PM: Incredibly smoky, polluted air. You can barely breathe. Good thing the windows were kept closed!

11:00 PM: Still extremely smoky air outside. Horrible conditions to have to endure just to live.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday 08/22/2008 Burning

9:30 PM: Someone is burning wood. It isn't that strong, you can smell it. It is weak. Still, I wouldn't want the windows open and have to smell that damn wood smoke. There was no smoke detected prior to this.

11:00 PM: Very smoky outside. All you can smell is the powerful odor of burning wood. Offensive? Very.

This night would have been perfect to leave the windows open. Cool with dropping humidity. You just can't do that in this city. If you leave your windows open, your house will reek of burnt wood. We all have to waste electricity keeping the AC on at night because the mayor and city council sided with the burners.

Thursday 08/21/2008 Burning

Very faint smoke from burning wood could be smelled around 7 PM or so.

Wednesday 08/20/2008 Burning

Very faint smell of burning wood detected between the hours of 7 PM and 9 PM. Somebody off in the distance was burning wood.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday 08/19/2008 Burning

Nobody burned today! Terrific! As of this writing near 10 PM nobody is burning. I just stuck my head out the back door before I turn in for the evening.

It's warm and humid out with a high today around 90 degrees. That's the reason no one burned wood.

Monday 08/18/2008 Burning

Nobody burned! It was hot and not too humid. When you get temperatures close to 90 degrees, very few people burn.

Extreme heat or rain are always good to keep those pyromaniacs at bay.

Sunday 08/17/2008 Burning

5:00 PM: Faint smoke from burning wood could be smelled. Somebody off in the distance is burning some wood. No surprises here.

This faint smokiness persisted all evening until at least 9:00 PM when I went to bed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday 08/16/2008 Burning

1:00 AM: Still smoky as hell outside. Still a cloud of smoke blanketing the ground. If you turn on the light you can see the smoke cloud.

2:00 AM: Still smoky as hell.

4:00 AM: Woke up, stuck my head outside. Yes, still smoky as hell.

12:30 PM: Nothing like the smell of burning wood in the afternoon. Somebody is burning wood now. I don't know who. Nobody near me. Smoke smell is mild. You can smell it and it is irritating.

3:00 PM: I've smelled wood smoke off and on all afternoon outside. It comes and goes.

5:00 PM: No smoke now.

8:00 PM: Somebody has a fire going somewhere. Nobody near me is burning. It could be someone a block or more away.

9:00 PM: Very smoky outside. Smoke is strong.

10:00 PM: All you can smell outside is the stench of wood smoke. That's it. You can't smell anything else.

11:00 PM: Still very smoky outside. It's not as smoky as it was last night. Unless you are trapped in a log cabin that is burning around you, you will never experience smoke like we had last night.

11:59: Still very smoky outside.

Thank goodness we have Jan Walczak and Mayor Mike Kuehn to stand up for the people who make life in this city A LIVING HELL!

Friday 08/15/2008 Burning

7:00 PM: Somebody is burning wood, and it isn't any of the usual suspects. Moderate level of smokiness. It's pretty much all you can smell.

8:00 PM: Still smoky.

9:00 PM: Very smoky.

10:00 PM: This is the smokiest night I have ever experienced in my entire life. The wood smoke is so strong it is choking. You can't breathe outside! The air reeks of smoke.

11:59 PM: You won't believe this, but it is even smokier than before. At midnight I went outside and I could hardly breathe. The air everywhere was a smoky haze. The smoke was so thick you could see it. It was surreal. You could see the smoke cloud when looking at the street lights or in the beam of a flashlight. This is the smokiest night ever in the city of North St. Paul.

The wood smoke was like a thick fog. There was no wind to blow it away. The temperature was cool, upper 60s with 50% humidity, perfect weather to leave your windows open. When I stepped outside two of my neighbor's air conditioners came on. Everyone has to leave the AC on because you can't breathe the damn air!

But this is how council member Jan Walczak and Mayor Mike Kuehn want it. They like smoky air and have stood up for the burners in our town. Next time you take a breath of smoky air, think of Jan Walczak and Mayor Kuehn. They have the power to eliminate this pollution and they have refused to do anything about it. They may have been the ones who put the ordinance in place that lead to this smoky hell of a city.

I want to mention that during this evening nobody around me was burning. None of the neighbors who burn frequently were burning this night.

08/12/2008 - 08/14/2008 Burning

Not a whole lot of burning these three days. I saw one guy burning something in his backyard on the ground on 8/14, but I could not smell it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Harassment Continues

I received about four dozen comments the past three days, all of them negative. Most of them are from outside of the state. Several have been from the Twin Cities from people using the two dominant broadband providers in this area.

I don't know why you people at that discussion board think it is funny to harass me. Hundreds of you have visited my blog according to my visitor statistics. A few of you have made threats, one to beat my head with a log. I am not going to take them seriously unless they come from the local area. My family's safety comes first. If any of you local people make threats against me, I will forward them to the authorities. I'm not going to let you troublemakers discourage me from documenting the smoky conditions in this city.

Several people left mean comments telling me that I must have a brain tumor. If what you say about brain tumors causing people to smell smoke that does not exist is correct, do brain tumors also cause you to see people sitting in lawn chairs next to roaring fires that do not exist as well? I've seen plenty of smoky fires this summer. It is not my imagination.

I also received one hate-filled email. That is not very nice. Do you jokers really have nothing better to do than to harass bloggers you dislike? I do not understand why you people at that discussion board feel the need to attack me. If you don't like this blog, don't read it.

If the harassment continues I will disable public commenting completely.

Monday 08/11/2008 Burning

Nobody burned this day. It was terrific to have dinner outside without smoky air.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday 08/10/2008 Burning

9:45 PM: Very smoky outside. It was smoke free all evening until about 8 PM when there was just the faintest trace of smoke. At this writing it is very smoky outside. It is all you can smell. Tonight, unlike the past few nights, I know who is doing it. It is the guy who lives down the street who has several recreational fires per week. They have their back lights on and I can see a huge cloud of smoke hanging above his yard over the fences.

It is only 68 degrees outside right now. That's cool for mid-August. What a shame it is to have to close the windows and have the evening ruined by the horrid stench of burning wood!

The mayor and city council are to blame. They are the ones who put the ordinances in place and are the ones who have defended them. Let's get them out of office!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday 08/09/2008 Burning

3:30 PM: Already someone is burning wood. The breeze is blowing it from the west right into my yard.

Light smokiness lasted until about 8 PM. After that, the evening was smoke free!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday 08/08/2008 Burning

Back in the smoky city.

9:30 PM: It is smoky outside at this time. Anyone surprised? I noticed that all my immediate neighbors have their windows closed. No need to wonder why that is. Their windows were open as recently as 6 PM before it got smoky. I guess they don't want to breathe smoky air from burning wood in their homes either. It is about 74 degrees right now and is supposed to get down into the low 60s tonight. There is no need for air conditioning, but nobody has any choice because of the polluted air in North St. Paul.

We were on vacation and that is why there were no posts for the past 10 days. I was told that during that timeframe only last weekend (Saturday 08/02 and Sunday 08/03) was smoky. The reason for that is the heat and humidity.

I noticed several negative posts waiting in the moderation queue from trolls who live all over the country and in Canada. Apparently, somebody posted a link to this blog on a discussion board. I went to the board and saw what it was: a bunch of pathetic souls who waste their lives on discussion boards complaining about websites they don't like. I saw that some of the people on that board had been registered for years. They had to pay money to register an account on that board and then they waste their time making comments about this blog.

You people at that site really need to get dates instead of complaining about my blog. This isn't intended to be anything other than a public documentation of the smoky air in the city of North St. Paul, Minnesota. That's all. It is nothing more. It doesn't take me more than a couple minutes a day to log the breathing conditions in this city. So if you don't like my blog, don't read it and find something else to do other than criticizing it.

Going forward, I will only be publishing comments from people who live in this city. This does not concern you people in Canada or on the east coast. So be gone.

11:30 PM: Very smoky outside. Even smokier than before. Nobody around me has a fire going. It must be someone a block away or more.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday 07/27/2008 Burning

12:00 AM: Still smoky.

1:00 AM: Still smoky. Yes, even at 1 AM the air is too smoky to open the windows.

It is 70 degrees outside at this time. It is cooler outside than it is inside. When I stuck my head out the back door I could hear the neighbor's air conditioner running. They can't open the windows to cool of the house and neither can I. NOBODY AROUND HERE CAN!

This is a waste of electricity. None of my immediate neighbors have their windows open right now. Everyone has to leave the AC running because the air is too smoky to breathe. If people leave the windows open everyone's house will reek of wood smoke!

Do you think my 80 year old neighbor wants to breathe smoky air in his bedroom? I doubt it. Nobody would. But the city council and mayor created the ordinance that allows this unnecessary air pollution and they are unwilling to do anything about it. The blame for this smoky hell of a city rests squarely on the shoulders of the mayor and city council.

As of 1 AM nobody I can see around me is burning. It could be someone blocks away for all I know. The smoke travels. It does not stay confined to the burner's property. There is really no breeze right now, so the smoke just lingers all around.

We are prisoners in our own homes.

2:15 AM: Still very smoky. Just as smoky as it was the hours before. It is 68 degrees outside. I imagine that everyone around me would like to have their windows open right now, I sure do. But we can't thanks to the leadership of this city.

3:30 AM: At this hour it is still very smoky outside. I wonder if someone didn't extinguish their fire properly. Going to bed now.

I heard someone else's air conditioner going. It is 66 degrees outside and everybody has to leave the AC running because of the smoky air. What a waste of electricity.

Saturday 07/26/2008 Burning

5:00 PM: Smoky air. Moderately smoky. The same guy down the street who burns almost every day is burning again. I can see a huge cloud of smoke coming from his yard.

7:30 PM: Heavy smokiness in the air. It looks like the guy down the street who was burning earlier has stopped. It doesn't matter. So many people burn in this city that the air is always smoky. When one stops, another one starts.

I went outside to sit for a while to enjoy the beautiful summer evening. All I could smell was burning wood. That's all I could smell DAMMIT! I am so sick of this city and the do-nothings on the city council. After I was done sitting outside I had to shower and change my clothes because I SMELLED LIKE SMOKE!

Do you think I want myself and my clothing to smell like burnt wood? NO I DON'T!

8:30 PM: Still smoky, moderate. Not as smoky as before. It is all you can smell when you stick your head out the door.

9:30 PM: Not smoky at this time.

10:30 PM: Moderately smoky. It's all you can smell. There will be no fresh air tonight, just like EVERY NIGHT!

Tonight would be perfect to leave the windows open, BUT YOU CAN'T DO THAT BECAUSE OF SO MANY PEOPLE BURNING DAMN WOOD EVERY NIGHT!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday 07/25/2008 Burning

8:00 PM: If you are one of those rare people who loves the smell of burning wood, tonight is your night. Actually, every night in the city of North St. Paul is your night because with rare exception somebody is always burning wood. It is very smoky at this time. It reeks. Horrible stench of burning wood. No fresh air!

9:00 PM: Still smells like burning wood.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday 07/24/2008 Burning

8:30 PM: Smoky air once again. Someone is burning wood. It is supposed to rain, I hope it does.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday 07/23/2008 Burning

4:30 PM: Light smokiness from burning wood. It must have been someone off in the distance.

8:30 PM: Heavy smokiness from burning wood. It stinks!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday 07/22/2008 Burning

9:30 PM: Strong smoke from burning wood. It was nauseating. Thankfully, the windows are all closed. Tonight would be a perfect night to leave the windows open. But you just can't do that in North St. Paul.

10:30 PM: Smokiness gone.

11:30 PM: Faint smokiness. You can smell it and tell it isn't fresh air.

Monday 07/22/2008 Burning

9:00 PM: Nobody burning. I was gone until this time. I didn't check the air after this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday 07/20/2008 Burning

5:45 PM: Light smokiness from burning wood. No burning prior to this.

7:00 PM: Light smokiness continues.

8:00 PM: Still light smokiness.

9:00 PM: Clear fresh air.

10:00 PM: Heavy smokiness from burning wood. Sticking my head out the back door all I could smell was wood smoke! Good thing the windows are all closed up or the entire house would reek of burning wood.

Why does somebody feel the need to burn wood at 10:00 PM on a Sunday night? They need to find other things to do.

Saturday 07/19/2008 Burning

Nobody burned. It was terrific.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday 07/18/2008 Burning

8:15 PM: Faint smokiness from burning wood. It didn't last long.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday 07/17/2008 Burning

7:45 PM: As of this writing nobody has burned at all this evening. It is humid and about 80 degrees outside. I'll be turning in around 9 PM tonight, so I won't know if anyone is burning beyond that time.

9:00 PM: I stuck my head out the back door just as I was going to bed. Light smokiness in the air from burning wood.

Tuesday 07/15/2008 - Wednesday 07/16/2008 Burning

It was hot and humid both of these days. No burning was detected. The air conditioning was on, anyway. It was nice to be able to stick my head out the back door and breathe fresh air.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday 07/14/2008 Burning

7:30 PM: Air outside is lightly smoky. Smells like wood smoke. Anyone surprised?

9:30 PM: Other than the light smokiness around 7:30 PM, there was no other burning noticed up until this time. It is about 85 degrees outside this evening.

10:45 PM: I woke up around this time. I stuck my head out the back door to check the air. The air was lightly smoky. Someone probably off in the distance somewhere was burning wood.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday 07/13/2008 Burning

7:00 AM: Nobody is burning now. The scent of burnt wood lingers in the air and is carried on the wind. Extinguished burnt logs give off an odor. The air smells like I have a burnt log right in front of my face.

Not even at 7 AM do we get to enjoy fresh air today.

1:00 PM: Somebody off in the distance was burning wood. It didn't smell like a grill, but smelled like wood smoke. The smokiness was very light. I could smell it in the house.

5:00 PM: Very faint smell of burning wood coming from somewhere in the distance. Perhaps someone is using wood chips for grilling. It doesn't have any grilling odor, faintly smells like burning wood.

Today is around 80 degrees. I anticipate this evening will be another smokey hell like yesterday evening was.

9:00 PM: Other than the faint smokiness at around 5 PM, this was a smoke-free evening. Every evening should be like this! I went to bed at this time with the windows closed, so I don't know if anyone burned wood after this time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday 07/12/2008 Burning

7:45 PM: That jerk neighbor down the street is burning wood. A huge plume of smoke is coming from his backyard. Every window in the house was open. Now the whole damn house reeks of burning wood. I had to run around shutting windows.

Every day this week the air conditioning has been on except for today. Today's high was around 80. Burning this entire week was limited due to high temperatures and it rained last night. Temperatures all week long were in the 80s and low 90s with high humidity. Only one day this week was the air smoky, I think it was Wednesday or Thursday evening. I've been going to bed early this week since I had to be up early so I haven't been able to track it until 11 PM as I usually do.

You see this council member Walczak? Why the hell should we have to live like this? Whenever it is cool enough to open the windows the air is too smoky to breathe! When I emailed you, you brushed me off. I and others are going to work real hard to replace you and your do nothing colleagues on the city council unless we get satisfactory action quickly.

How many people do you think enjoy breathing smoky air when they are sitting in their living rooms reading or watching TV, Ms. Walczak? Do you think any of them do? I do not need to be reminded of the hours of burning in this city. City ordinance provides 49 hours of burn time each week and it is way too much!


Tonight the low temperature is supposed to be around 59 degrees. With the recent hot weather, I anticipate tonight will be a smoky hell due to the pent up desire to burn wood by some people. That means the windows will have to be left closed all night. I'll have to sleep in a stuffy house again!

I apologize for my anger. I am just sick to death of breathing smoky air nearly every day in this city. It should not be like this. It never used to be like this. This city used to be a great place to live. Now its like living in a fire pit.

9:30 PM: The stench of wood smoke is so strong you can't breathe if you step outside. Just sticking my head out the back door for a few seconds left my shirt smelling like smoke. What's worse is that the smell of the smoke is seeping in around the weather stripping on one of the windows. Even with windows closed I can smell the smoke around that window.

10:30 PM: Heavy smokiness. Can't take any more of this smoky city. Leaving windows closed and going to sleep.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday 07/07/2008 Burning

It was hot, humid, then it rained. No burning to report this day.

I'm happy when it rains because it means that the air will be breathable!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sunday 07/06/2008 Burning

I was gone for part of the day. I noticed nobody burning and polluting the air at all.

It was over 90 degrees Sunday and humid. Is it too uncomfortable to sit around a hot, smoky pile of burning wood when it is hot outside?

Why is it that when the air conditioning is on few people burn but when it is cool enough to open the windows the air in this city is too smoky to breathe?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday 07/05/2008 Burning

5:30 AM: Nobody is burning at this time. A very faint scent of burnt wood lingers from the prior night's burning. It isn't fresh air, it isn't smoky either.

1:30 PM: Somebody was burning wood.

9:30 PM: Faint smokiness.

Overall this was a light pollution day.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday 07/04/2008 Burning

12:30 AM: Happy 4th of July! As of this writing light smokiness lingers in the air. Going to bed and sleeping with the windows closed for obvious reasons.

7:30 PM: The air is filled with the odor of wood smoke. Anyone surprised?

8:30 PM: Faint smokiness outside.

9:30 PM: Neighbor to the northeast has a fire going and I think the neighbor to the northwest does as well. Can't see that one because of the foliage and trees, but there is a smoky haze above the yard.

Recreational fires are expected on holidays like July 4th, I suppose. So I won't complain today, just continue to document. The problem in this city isn't that fires occur once a week or just on holidays, but every single day. Daily burning is what makes living in North St. Paul so unbearable. I wish it would change.

11:30 PM: Heavy smokiness in the air.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday 07/03/2008 Burning

12:15 AM: I had to get up out of bed so just for the heck of it I stuck my head out the back door. Smoky! I would rate it a medium. Terrible! According to current ordinance recreational burning is supposed to cease at 11:00 PM. Obviously people are violating the rule. It was breezy at this time of night. Good thing the windows were closed or else the whole house would have reeked of wood smoke.

Would you like your entire house to smell like burnt wood at 12:15 AM on a weekday (or any other day)? Probably not. Who would?

That's why we need recreational burning banned in this city. It has gotten way out of control to the point where living here is pure misery. There is absolutely no need for the recreational burning of wood and the air pollution it creates. Fresh air is needed by everyone.

It never used to be like this in North St. Paul. I remember just a few years ago when you would wake up to the wonderful aroma of lilacs and blossoms in the spring. Now? You have to leave your windows closed at night or you'll wake up choking on wood smoke!

6:30 AM: Nice fresh air. It should be like this at all hours of the day, every day.

Is it nice to breathe fresh air that isn't polluted with the smoke from unnecessary recreational fires? Yes it is. Too bad we have so little fresh air in this city.

4:45 PM: The guy down the street who burns almost every day is burning wood. Smoky. Close windows.

6:45 PM: The same guy burning at 4:45 PM is burning wood. Huge plumes of smoke are coming from his backyard. The wind isn't blowing this direction, so we are spared the brunt of the pollution. Enough came this direction to tell he was burning wood. At 7:45 PM he is still burning strong.

Since this is a holiday weekend I expect the entire city of North St. Paul will be a miserable smoky hell.

9:00 PM: The first guy down the street who was burning earlier has stopped. But another neighbor to the northwest has a fire going. The air is smoky.

10:30 PM: Light to moderate smokiness outside. Too smoky to open the windows. I can't stand the smell of wood smoke and don't want it in the house.

11:45 PM: You guessed it: the air is smoky. Light to moderate smokiness at this time. I debated going for a walk to see if I could find the source(s), but I'm not going to. No fresh air tonight.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday 07/02/2008 Burning

4:30 PM: Light smokiness. Someone off in the distance is burning wood. It is about 77 degrees at this time.

6:30 PM: Very faint smokiness. I can smell it, many people would not be able to detect it. It isn't fresh air.

8:00 PM: No smoke where I am. The air is fresh. The guy down the street who burns just about every day burned something twice this evening; once around 5:00 PM and again around 7:00 PM. The wind wasn't blowing the smoke in my direction, so I don't know what he was burning. Usually he burns grass and wood. Even if he was grilling, he wouldn't be doing it twice in one night. People don't have two dinners in one evening.

It is still early. It will be cool tonight. If history is any indication tonight will be a smoky night. Peak burning time seems to be between 8:30PM and 11:00 PM.

8:00 PM: No smoke detected where I am. Air is fresh!

9:00 PM - 9:30 PM: I went for a cruise around the northern part of the city. I found only one fire in the whole section I explored (I didn't drive down every road) on 14th Ave. just east of Margaret. 18th & Charles was smoke-free during this time period. Absolutely amazing! It was a little smoky over at 18th & Charles last night, but not when I was over there tonight.

10:00 PM: No smoke detected where I am.

10:30 PM: I knew it wouldn't last. It is windy and the air is smoky where I am right now. If the windows were open it would be irritating to me. Since it is windy, the smoke could be coming from quite a distance away. I didn't see any fires around me. It is 65 degrees outside as of this writing.

What bothers me about these people who burn is that they don't have to endure the smoke from their own fires when it is windy out. The smoke just blows away and inconveniences everyone else. Everyone near and far has to smell that horrid smoke while they just sit out of the wind.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday 07/01/2008 Burning

1:30 AM: Dammit! Somebody is burning wood. Why can't we ever have fresh air in this city? I knew I shouldn't have left the windows open. It isn't a strong smoke, but it was irritating enough to make me get out of bed and close the windows.

Is it too much to ask to not smell burning wood in your bedroom at 1:30 AM? I don't think so.

8:00 PM: No burning detected up until this point. I can go outside and take a deep breath and there is no stench of burning wood. It sure is nice. I love fresh air. The temperature is in the upper 80s this evening, close to 90 degrees for a high, 86 degrees at this writing. That has to be the reason nobody is burning this evening.

9:45 PM: No burning detected. Only wonderful fresh air! As I said before, it seems that when it is cool enough to open the windows it is to smoky to have them open, and when it is hot enough to have the air conditioning on very few people burn.

I often imagine how much better life would be in this city if we had fresh air every day. Fresh air would make living in this city much more enjoyable than the smoky air we have to endure on a daily basis.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday 06/30/2008 Burning

5:00 PM - 10:00PM: Smoke free where I am. Nobody was burning around me from what I could tell. I could step outside and take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air. Every day should be like this. Breathing fresh air should be the norm, not the exception!

11:00 PM: Very faint, almost undetectable smokiness in the air. Many people would not be able to smell it. I can. I know what fresh air is and this isn't it. It is bearable.

Today was the least smoky day all month. It was about 82 degrees at 6 PM. Maybe the warmth is discouraging people from burning. If it's cool enough to have the windows open the air is so smoky you can't breathe. If it is warm enough to have the air conditioning on less people burn.

Dare I sleep with the windows open tonight? It's only 71 degrees outside right now. I sleep very well when the bedroom is cool.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday 06/29/2008 Burning

2:30 AM: Prior to this time there was no smoke (went to sleep around 1:30 AM). Somebody started burning around this time. Yes, someone was burning wood at 2:30 in the morning! Maybe somebody getting back from the bar decided to burn some wood. I had to get up out of bed and close the windows! The wind was gusty and the stench of burning wood was strong. It had to be someone pretty close by with the smokiness that strong. I stepped out the back door and looked around. I did not see any glowing or flickering from flames. I have no idea who was doing it.

It was about 63 degrees outside at that time. I probably was not the only one around here with my windows open (I can see the neighbor's window open). A cool summer night is perfect for having the windows open, except around here.

Do you like waking up in the middle of the night to the stench of burning wood? I don't know anyone who would answer 'yes' to that question.

Not even in the wee hours of the morning are we free from the stench of smoke. Leave the windows open at your own risk.

5:00 AM: Air is clear and fresh. Ahhh! I'll take a deep breathe and enjoy every bit of that fresh air because in a few hours somebody will start burning again. If not by noon, definitely by 12 hours from now.

7:00 PM: Up until this point I noticed no burning. At this time the guy down the street who burns every day burned for about an hour. It was very smoky. Instead of the usual wind pattern blowing east, the wind was blowing south, so I did not smell any of his burning at all. Today must have been my lucky day.

8:30PM: Another neighbor to the northwest started burning. I can't see through the trees and foliage, but their backyard was smoky. I only experienced a light smokiness at this time. Still, it isn't fresh air, which I should be able to breathe!

9:00 PM: I left at this time and was out of the city.

10:00 PM: On my way back home I made a detour to pass by Silver Lake. It was smoky all along the west and south side of the lake. I decided to go down 18th Ave. Unbelievably smoky over here! The smoke was overpowering. It was so smoky I felt nauseous. My stomach turned. For a minute I felt like I was going to vomit all over myself. I developed a mild headache from the polluted air. There was a very strong pocket of smokiness on 18th between Henry and Charles. This was the strongest. There was another pocket of smokiness on 18th closer to Margaret. The smoke from recreational burning is bad where I live, but in that area it is even worse! I don't know how those people can stand to live over there. I did not notice any homes with their front windows open. It's not hard to figure out why, is it?

By the time I got home I could not tell if it was smoky where I am. My sense of smell was impaired by the strong smoke on 18th Ave. My nose was irritated and burning. I could not smell much of anything.

I am not joking about this and am not exaggerating in the least.

11:00 PM: My sense of smell is starting to return. I took a step out the back door and can't really say I detected smoke. It didn't smell like fresh air, either. My sense of smell may not be fully back to normal.

I guess I'll have to sleep with the windows closed again. You never know who is going to burn at 2:30 AM and smoke up your bedroom.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday 06/28/2008 Burning

1:00 AM: Smokiness from Friday night's burning is starting to dissipate. It's very faint. I didn't stay up past this point.

6:30 PM: The neighbor down the street who burns every day burned something for about five minutes. The wind didn't blow the smoke in my direction so I couldn't tell if he was burning grass or just wood. Since it was such a short burn I assume he was burning grass, something he does all the time. It was obvious that it wasn't smoke from a grill.

9:00 PM: Medium smokiness where I am. It is about 67 degrees outside, uncharacteristically cool for late June. A beautiful cool evening ruined by burning wood.

I went for a walk around the block at this time. In a radius of 1/10th of a mile from my home I counted four recreational fires. There was a fifth fire about a block outside of that radius. That explains why it was smoky where I am.

10:15 PM: Mild smokiness.

11:30 PM: Mild smokiness. It may be mild smokiness, it is still an annoyance. Who wants to breathe smoky air even if it is only mildly smoky?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday 06/27/2008 Burning

4:45 PM: Noticed the smell of wood smoke. Probably coming from somewhere off in the distance. Rain started shortly after. There shouldn't be too many fires tonight.

6:45 PM: The rain stopped for the time being. Faint smell of wood smoke. Yes, someone had to burn wood during the gap in the rain.

8:30 PM: Very light smokiness.

10:00 PM: Light smokiness.

11:59 PM: Heavy smokiness. I cracked the window open and sniffed. Wood smoke! It is midnight and somebody just has to burn wood. Can't they find something better to do? There is absolutely no chance of opening the windows tonight! You cannot imagine how angry that makes me. It is a cool evening and I cannot even open the windows because of the smell of smoke! I don't know who is doing it. The wind is blowing to the east, so it must be someone to the west of me.

I sent an email to one of the city council members and to the city website requesting that the council and acting mayor be alerted to this issue. I also requested the link to this blog be forwarded.

Why can't I have the freedom to open the windows at night and breathe smoke-free air?

Considering the council members and acting mayor live in this city, they must experience the smokiness, too. Why did they let it get like this? Do they like the smell of burning wood every single day? I cannot imagine that anybody would. Unless they are lucky enough to live where the wind patterns don't bring the smoke into their windows every day they have them opened. I am not so fortunate. With so many people burning these days, it is unlikely they are immune to it.

There has been much attention directed to smoking in bars and restaurants the past few years. Smoking is now banned in these establishments. If people can enjoy a meal at a restaurant without the irritating smell of smoke, why do I have to endure it in my own home? Or when I step outside?

Right on the city website it says "enjoy your recreational fire". Unnecessary air pollution should never be encouraged by the government. Never.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thurdsay 06/26/2008 Burning

5:30 PM - 8:30 PM: No smokiness detected where I am. I wish every evening was like this. There are still a couple of hours left before I go to bed.

Could this be the first day in several weeks without anybody burning wood nearby and smoking up the air? It would be nice.

8:45PM: I knew it would be too good to last. It looks like a neighbor is just starting a fire. Smokiness above his yard and just the faintest smell of smoke can be detected from my backyard. Too bad. They do have a recreational fire going.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday 06/25/2008 Burning

7:00 PM: It is about 84 degrees outside right now. There is a mild to moderate intermittent smokiness in the air. The wind is very gusty right now blowing to the west-southwest from what I could see. The windiness is the reason the smokiness isn't constant. I don't know where it is coming from. Since it is windy it could be coming from a distance away.

9:00 PM: No smokiness from here onward.

This was a low smokiness day. A rarity in the city of North St. Paul.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday 06/24/2008 Burning

4:30 PM: The guy down the street who burns almost every day burned some grass for about 10 - 15 minutes. He thinks he's being sneaky. He starts a small wood fire then rakes his grass clippings into it. Everyone around him knows what he's doing. I think someone called the cops on him last year. He still burns grass all the time.

8:45 PM: The air is mildy smoky outside. The wind is blowing toward the west. It looks like a neighbor to the northwest is having a fire again. I can't see it through the trees and foliage, but there is a smoky haze above their yard. The air conditioning is on, the windows are closed. If they were open, even the mild smokiness would be bothersome. Who wants to smell that in the house?

As you can see, we have had to endure smoky air the last 10 out of 10 days. We've had to endure smoky air a lot longer than that. Nearly 100% of the time every evening it is smoky, all throughout spring. I only started documenting it 10 days ago.

It is getting worse every year. Sometimes I wonder if others are bothered by the burning and they decide to join in on it. I've been tempted to burn myself for no other reason than if I can't enjoy fresh air I might as well be the one smoking it up. I have never had a fire here. Sitting around burning wood on a hot summer day does not interest me.

9:45 PM: It is smoky outside. On a scale of low to high I would rate it a medium. Spending a few minutes outside will leave a smoky smell in your clothes. The smoke isn't strong enough to irritate my sinuses, but strong enough that I'm glad the windows are closed. The wind is blowing west-northwest, so I don't know the source of this smoke. It could be someone 1/2 mile away or more.

Wood smoke travels.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday 06/23/2008 Burning

3:30 AM: Monday morning and somebody is burning wood. I am not sure who it is, but I strongly suspect the person down the street who has recreational fires several times a week. I can't see anything, but given that they burn so frequently and sometimes have several fires a day, I bet it is them. I wonder if they are doing it just to be a nuisance. As I said, I'm not sure it is them.

Not even fresh air at 3:30 AM on a Monday morning! I just got up to go to the bathroom, opened the window and the air was all smoky.

It is currently 61 degrees outside. I can't imagine anyone would have a fireplace going in late June.

6:45 PM: Someone is burning wood. IT STINKS! Have to close windows.

From about 6:45 PM to about 8:00 PM it was very smoky where I am. The smokiness died down after that. As of this writing (10:00 PM) the air outside is mildy smoky. Not strong smoke, but not clean, fresh, pleasant to breathe air.

From about 8:45 PM to 9:30 PM I went for a drive around the northern part of the city to do a little smoke detecting. It is Monday night, not a peak day for burning, but there were numerous fires all over the northern section of the city. There was a very light breeze blowing due west. This is what I found. Keep in mind that I probably did not find each and every fire since I did not go down each and every road.
  • 17th & Henry: House on the northeast corner had a recreational fire going. I saw the fire. Residents of the home sitting by a small fire. Smoky.
  • 18th & Charles: Pocket of strong smokiness near this intersection. Not from the fire on 17th & Henry. Must be another fire in someone's backyard here. There is always smoke in this area just about every day. There is a frequent burner around here.
  • 18th & Margaret: Strong pocket of smokiness a couple houses east of Margaret on 18th. The smokiness was not consistent along 18th Ave. It is unlikely that this smokiness was from the same source as that on 18th & Charles but from another fire.
  • 16th & Charles: Very strong pocket of smokiness here. I saw a guy and a kid sitting at a table outside Silver Lake Market. I hope that little girl likes smoky air. She's sitting in it.
  • Longview, middle of street just east of the curve: I saw large clouds of smoke coming from the back yard. It was wood smoke. The person who lives in that house is a frequent burner. They burn several days a week, possibly every day.
  • 19th & Longview: Very strong pocket of smokiness here. Somebody very nearby was burning wood. Not from the same source up Longview. It was so strong I could barely breathe!
  • 17th & 1st: It was either the first or second house on the southeast corner of this intersection that was having a large bonfire. I saw the fire. The flames were about 5 - 6 feet off the ground, not legal. The air reeked of smoke.
  • 14th & 1st: House on the southwest corner was having a fire. I saw the fire.
  • 13th & 3rd: It was the house on the southeast corner of this intersection (or the intersection of 14th & 3rd, I forgot) that had a incredibly smoky fire. The streets were filled with a giant cloud of smoke. Probably the smokiest thing I've ever seen in my life.
  • Navajo & Chippewa: The guy on the northwest corner of Navajo and Chippewa is a frequent burner. If he doesn't have a fire going I assume he is ill since he burns several times a week. Both he and his next door neighbor had fires going in their front yards. Both fires were very smoky. Two fires barely 20 feet apart from each other. Maybe those two could consolidate their uneccesary air pollution into only one smoky fire.
  • 1st just north of Navajo: Strong pocket of smokiness here about halfway up the street between Navajo and Indian Way.
I did not notice any fires at all in the neighborhood bounded by 17th, Radatz, and McKnight. I wonder if they realize how fortunate they are. But smoke from the fires on Navajo could be detected here.

And that's on a Monday! North St. Paul is a very smoky city. That's why I call it the smokiest city in the world. My clothes reeked of smoke just going for a 45 minute drive through the neighborhoods. That's how bad it is in this city.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday 06/22/2008 Burning

At 5:00 PM the same guy who had a fire on 6/20/2008 at 5:30 PM decided to burn some wood. Huge plumes of smoke came from his fire. I was in the middle of a shower. The stench of wood smoke poured into the bathroom. I had to jump out of the shower dripping wet and run around closing windows.

If the city council doesn't address this issue I am going to work real hard at getting them thrown out of office.

Nobody should have to live like this! Nobody has the right to pollute the air I have to breathe!

I just bathed and my skin smells like smoke!

7:00 PM: The person burning at 5:00 PM stopped after about an hour. As of this writing someone else is burning. Smells like a combination of wood and grass. It is a breezy evening. The smoke is probably carrying a considerable distance.

8:00 PM: The air hangs heavy with wood smoke. It is actually difficult to breathe if you stay outside for more than a minute or so. The smoke also irritates my nose causing discomfort. I think I would rather have a group of people smoking cigarettes in my home than smell that horrible wood smoke. I really wouldn't like either.

It is a true shame to have such a beautiful summer evening ruined by the overpowering stench of smoke.

I took a drive around a part of the city around 9:30 PM this evening. People were burning in the vicinity of:
  • 18th Ave. & Charles (there is somebody over there who constantly burns wood, even on weekend mornings)
  • 19th Ave. & 2nd St. (someone was burning grass)
  • North of Beam on Helen (not sure if it was a North St. Paul or Maplewood resident)
  • Helen & Navajo
  • South end of Hilltop Court (I saw the flames)
Sunday night is far from the peak time for burning. In that 1/2 sq. mile of area there were five people burning. You can see how much people burn in this city. I didn't notice any burning south of 17th Ave. But that doesn't mean someone wasn't burning. I can't uncover every one and I didn't drive down every street.

The burning where I am stopped around 9:30 PM. I get to sleep with the windows open tonight! I hope I don't end up waking up in the middle of the night because some jerk decides to burn late. That happens sometimes.

DAMMIT! At 12:30 AM Monday morning someone started burning again. I think I'm beginning to hate living in this city.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday 06/21/2008 Burning

Mild smokiness was detected around 7:15 PM from an unknown burner. By 8:30 PM the neighbor across the street had a recreational fire going as did the neighbor behind us diagonally to the northwest.

Someone a block south of us also had a bonfire.

By 9:30 PM another neighbor behind us diagonally to the northeast had a recreational fire going. They had a fire last night at the same time. There is very little wind to blow the smoke away. I have no choice but to close the windows and sit in a hot, stuffy house once again.

That's a total of four fires going within a block of this house this evening.

As of midnight it is still smoky outside. I'll have to sleep with the windows closed yet again.

Nobody should have to live like this!

As of 4 AM Sunday morning the air was still smoky.

The Burning Log

This blog is going to serve as a document of the kind of conditions we have to endure as residents of North St. Paul, Minnesota. If you want to live in this city you must love the smell of burning wood, or else you will be very unhappy.

The past few years have seen a dramatic rise in both the number and frequency of recreational fires. As recently as ten years ago recreational burning of wood was rare. For the past three or four years it has become an almost daily occurrence. Rare is it that we have a day with fresh air unpolluted by the stench of unnecessarily burned wood.

As a result of daily recreational fires living in this city has become unbearable. If you are considering moving to North Saint Paul, MN, you should be aware that these are the conditions you will have to contend with.

I am not the only one tired of constantly breathing smoky air in this city.

Date Time Smoke
6/15/2008 11:30 AM Somebody was burning grass starting at 11:30 AM followed by wood. Smokiness was constant and persisted all evening past 9 PM. It is Father's Day today, many people are burning wood. Slept with windows closed.
6/16/2008 7:00 PM Someone unknown burning. Had to close windows.
6/17/2008 8:00 PM Someone again burning wood. Had to close windows and leave them closed all night.
6/18/2008 9:30 PM Someone unknown started a fire at around 9:30 PM. Had to close windows. Smoky all night long. Mild smokiness persisted until 5 AM the next morning.
6/19/2008 5:30 PM Someone unknown started burning at around 5:30 PM. Smoky for the next 3 hours or so. After that it was a smoke free night. Able to open windows. At last, an opportunity to cool down the house at night! Thank God for fresh air!
6/20/2008 5:30 PM Neighbor down the street started a very smoky fire around 5:30 PM. It smelled like wood smoke with burning grass thrown in for good measure. Very strong stench of smoke. Had to close windows and turn on air conditioning. Fire lasted for about 3 hours. At 9:00 PM another neighbor started a recreational fire. Had to leave windows closed all night long. At 7 AM the next morning a very faint scent of burnt wood could still be detected.