Recreational Fires Must Be Eliminated

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell others about this blog!

Monday, 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a message if you desire.