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.

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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.