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!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday 04/25/2009 Burning

4:30 PM: Light wood smoke can be detected.

6:30 PM: Light wood smoke.

8:00 PM: Light wood smoke.

10:00 PM: Light to moderate wood smoke.

11:30 PM: Light wood smoke.

Midnight: Light wood smoke.

I did not think there would be any wood smoke with a temperature in the mid 50s.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday 04/24/2009 Burning

No smoke this evening as of 11:00 PM. It was windy earlier this evening with a temperature in the mid 50s. Not many will burn wood when the weather is this cool.

Thursday 04/23/2009 Burning

6:45 PM: Very windy. 83 degrees. No wood smoke. I fell asleep shortly after this time following a hearty supper and did not wake again until midnight. No wood smoke at that time either. Still very windy. Perhaps the strong wind gusts kept the burners at bay this evening. I do not know since I slept through it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

North St. Paul Air Quality Forecast For April 23, 2009

North St. Paul, MN, air quality forecast for today: EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

Temperatures will reach 80 degrees today, the highest so far this spring. What does that mean? Absent rain or foul weather, it means burning wood. Lots of it.

Small children, those with asthma or respiratory diseases, and the elderly are at particular risk of adverse health effects from wood smoke. Windows should be kept closed. Children should be kept inside. Anybody with asthma should keep an inhaler handy as the toxins in wood smoke could trigger an attack.

Wood smoke will most likely be heavy tonight and probably linger until well after midnight. Gusty winds may help blow the smoke away from the ground and may discourage some burners due to safety issues. Since most recreational burners aren't conscientious enough to consider everyone in the neighborhood who has to breathe the air they are polluting, do not count on them to be cognizant of fire safety. Leaving your windows open may result in your entire home smelling like wood smoke, including your draperies, carpeting, and furniture.

Symptoms you may experience if you are in North St. Paul this evening:
  • Burning sinuses
  • Irritated eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
You cannot escape the wood smoke in this town. Seal up your home and pray for morning.

Wednesday 04/22/2009 Burning

8:15 PM: Light wood smoke detected in the air at this time.

9:30 PM: Light wood smoke continues. Most noticeable when the breeze blows to the west.

The temperature was in the mid to upper 50s this evening.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday 04/21/2009 Burning

7:30 PM: No wood smoke detected yet. Temperature is around 58 degrees. Not many will burn wood when the temperature is this cool.

8:15 PM: Light wood smoke in the air.

The wood smoke at 8:15 PM did not last long. Gone in less than 30 min.

Monday 04/20/2009 Burning

No burning at all this evening. Only fresh air. With a temperature of 45 degrees and spotty rain sprinkles, weather conditions were not favorable for recreational fires.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday 04/19/2009 Burning

2:00 PM: Opened a window while cleaning and noticed faint wood smoke. The ground is damp from this morning's light rain. Probably a fireplace. Since the odor was faint, I won't categorize this as smoky air. It didn't last long.

7:30 PM: Other than the faint wood smoke this afternoon, the air has been delightfully fresh. No wood smoke yet!

9:45 PM: Absolutely no wood smoke outside. Wonderful! This is the first evening in over a week we have not had to experience smoky air. I wish every day was like this!

The temperature is about 45 degrees right now. It was cool today. The ground is a little damp from this morning's light rain. These are the likely reasons we didn't have smoky air tonight. As I have said before, if it is too cold or hot to have the windows open, nobody burns. But if the weather is perfect to leave the windows open, lots of people burn.

Saturday 04/18/2009 Burning

Another very nice spring day. The high temperature was in the mid 60s. I expected wood smoke to be very heavy again this evening. It wasn't as bad as usual.

6:00 PM: Air is starting to get smoky from burning wood. Very faint as of now. Close all windows around house. Sealing up the house has become a ritual of sorts. It is something you must do whether you want to or not.

7:30 PM: Moderately smoky air.

8:30 PM: Light to moderate wood smoke in the air.

10:00 PM: Air is lightly smoky.

11:00 PM: Light wood smoke lingers.

Midnight: Faint trace of wood smoke can be detected. You can smell it a little.

This was the least smoky evening all week. But it certainly is not fresh air like we deserve.

Wood smoke is a nuisance and public health hazard.

Friday 04/17/2009 Burning

With temperatures in the lower 70s, you had to know that this day would be very smoky in North St. Paul, MN. It was by all accounts a beautiful spring day. A good day to be alive. Unless you like to breathe fresh air, of course.

7:15 PM: Air outside is starting to get smoky.

8:00 PM: Air is very smoky. Stepping outside, wood smoke is the only thing you can smell. This is not a good way to live!

9:00 PM: Still just as smoky.

10:00 PM: Still very smoky.

11:00 PM: Very heavy wood smoke outside. Terrible!

Midnight: Heavy wood smoke.

Saturday morning

1:30 AM: Faint trace of wood smoke lingers in the air. I don't want to open my windows since the air still smells like wood smoke. It is not heavy smoke like before. I don't want to breathe it or have my home smelling like it.

2:30 AM: Light wood smoke odor lingers in the air. The fire has probably been extinguished and is smoldering or the remnants of burnt wood are giving off the odor.

From 7:15 PM Friday evening until the last time I checked at 2:30 AM Saturday morning there was wood smoke in the air. Wood smoke was very heavy this evening. This is something I expected since this was the first really nice weekend evening of the year. I did not see anybody burning around me. The guy down the street who burned every day last year hasn't been burning much at all so far. I think other people have been making up for his lack of pollution.

That's seven hours of horribly unpleasant, smoky air this night. Will the city council ever come to the conclusion that the residents of this city have suffered enough? Or will they continue to defend the rights of the minority who burn wood and unnecessarily pollute the air we must breathe?

Which is more important? The right of children, the elderly, asthmatics, and others who never burn wood to breathe fresh air, or the right of the minority to burn wood because they can't come up with any other ways to entertain themselves?

Everybody needs fresh air. Nobody needs to burn wood for recreational purposes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday 04/16/2009 Burning

7:45 PM: A very smoky evening this day. I would rate it moderately smoky. 6.5 out of 10. It wasn't smoky enough to burn your sinuses, but wood smoke was about all you could smell outside. Smoky is smoky. This happens when the weather is nice these days. Many people burn.

I could not find the burner where I live. The air was smoky, but I couldn't track the source because there was very little breeze to help me pinpoint the direction. I did find another large bonfire near 19th & Helen. There was a large fire in the backyard of the second house from the northeast corner of the intersection. One of our city council members lives a few houses north of that house and it was smoky in her area. It was a gorgeous evening, about 65 degrees, and she did not have any of her windows open that I could see from the street. I wonder why... Was the air too smoky to leave the windows open? Open up those windows and enjoy the smoky air!

Ten years ago, I would have had the windows open all over the house on an evening like tonight. I would most likely have left a window or two around the house open a crack all night. You can't do that anymore in North St. Paul. You are a prisoner in your own home because of air pollution from wood smoke. This is no joke.

Comments Shut Off Again

I cannot take the harassing comments. I am disabling comments again. Sorry.

More Threats & Intimidation

I've gotten more threats today. Someone claimed I am harassing people by publishing addresses. No, I am not. Street addresses are public information and I have the right to publish them just as any newspaper would when reporting a story. I am exercising my constitutional right to free speech. I will publish the addresses of people I find burning and plot them on a map. There is no law against it. It is not harassment. It is a statement of fact.

I will consult legal advice before I continue to publish addresses just to be on the safe side.

I cannot believe how much venomous, hate-filled comments I get from lovers of smoky air. Why do you love smoky air so much? Is it so difficult for you to understand that a lot of people do not like smoky air?

In this era of environmental consciousness, I cannot believe that so many people stand ardently opposed to fresh air. What is wrong with you people?

Never fear. I will not be stopped until every single Minnesotan is aware of this issue.

Please continue to tell others about this blog. Thank you.

Over 200 Visitors Today!

Today could be the biggest day yet for this blog! Somebody posted a link on a popular website and we have gotten over 200 visitors so far today. Somebody also posted a link on their Facebook page. Thank you!

My goal is to draw attention to this issue of daily wood smoke. So the more people who know about life in North St. Paul, MN, the better.

On a sour note, about a dozen people thought they would leave funny comments like, "I love the smell of a smoldering pile of leaves", and, "you're crazy if you don't love the smell of burning wood." I highly doubt you enjoy the smell of burning leaves. Really. This is what happens on the internet. People act in a way they would never act in real life. People also leave threats, sometimes. I deleted comments so fast I didn't read all of them. Don't threaten me, please. I don't want any harm to come to me or anyone else. That isn't the purpose of this blog. I am drawing attention to the nuisance of wood smoke and casting a light on those who are recreationally polluting the air we all must breathe. I am also in contact with others who feel the same way.

If you love the smell of burning wood so much, give me your address and I will buy your neighbors enough wood to last all summer long. Then we'll see how much you love wood smoke when every room in your house smells like it. I won't buy you the wood, because you would sit upwind and the smoke would blow away from you. I will buy your neighbors upwind some wood so it blows right at your house.

In fact, I have been considering this very thing for North St. Paul. If I have to breathe smoky air every day, then everybody should (hundreds of us already do). Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday 04/15/2009 Burning

7:30 PM: Enjoying a pleasant spring evening on the deck (65 degrees and sunny!), I was not surprised when smoky air encroached. This is North St. Paul, the "smokiest city in the world". A night without wood smoke would be unnatural in this formerly pleasant town. After sitting in smoky air for a while, I got pissed off, naturally. Who wants to breathe smoky air? Who wants to sit outside and breathe wood smoke with every breathe he takes? Who enjoys that?

So I went smoke detecting. I found the guy with the recreational fire. It took a while because there was little wind to help me locate the source. The smoke hung in the air throughout the entire neighborhood. It reeked! I saw a guy in a wheelchair sitting next to a fire at xxxx First St. N. This guy has fires all the time. I saw him having fires several times last year. Why can't he find something better to do than sit in front of burning wood? Does this guy need to pollute the air for recreational "fun" several times a week? Is polluting the air we all must share fun? Is making the air unbreathable for those with allergies and lung problems good recreation?

I regularly point out the smoky areas of the northern half of the city. Those areas are frequently smoky. By frequently, I mean almost every night. Last summer, the area of 18th & Charles was stomach-turningly smoky every night. It hasn't been smoky over there yet this year. But it is very early in the burning season. It will be much smokier in June, July, and August than it is in April.

It is only mid-April and we've had to contend with smoky air for 7 out of the last 7 days where I am. That's 100% of the days, dear commenter. If we smell wood and grass smoke every day, so do our neighbors and those all around us. I know they smell it, because I've asked them in the past.

Other smoky areas

Since I was out, I decided to check out other areas in North St. Paul. The area of Chippewa & Navajo was smoky. I didn't see any recreational fires. Maybe someone was using a fireplace when it was 65 degrees and nice outside.

The area of Polar & Lake Blvd. was smoky, too. It was smoky two nights ago. I did not see any smoke or fires in this area. Maybe someone here had a fireplace going on a warm spring evening as well.

Maplewood very smoky

I feel sorry for the people living in northern Maplewood. It was sickeningly smoky in the area of Standridge & McKnight. Definitely rritating to the sinuses. It was also very smoky in the area of Lydia & Bellaire/Helen. If you left your windows open in these areas, your entire house would reek of wood smoke. You'd smell smoke every time you inhale. I thought some leaders on your city council were going to so something about the smoke pollution in your city. Did they abandon you lovers of fresh air? Sometimes you've got to keep complaining to these local politicians to enable them to find their back bones.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday 04/14/2009 Burning

No burning detected today where I am. It is only 8 PM. Still some time.

9:30 PM: Light wood smoke in the air. I knew the fresh, unpolluted air was too good to last. Somebody off in the distance probably has a fireplace going. It's 57 degrees at the moment.

Since last Thursday, the air has been smoky for part of the last 6 of 6 days. That's 100% of the days.

Rarely is there a day without wood or grass smoke in North St. Paul, MN. Every day should be smoke-free.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday 04/13/2009 Burning

6:30 PM: Very smoky outside at this time. I had the window open to vent kitchen heat. Had to close it because the air outside was so smoky. It was very smoky for about half-an-hour after which the smokiness was gone.

Maplewood Burning

Northern Maplewood was very smoky this evening. I was at the corner of Lydia & McKnight at about 8:15 PM this evening. The air was very smoky in this area. Ever the sleuth, I wanted to track down the source of the burning. I proceeded up Lydia toward Helen/Bellaire. The smokiness got more intense the closer I got to the intersection. The smoke in this area was so strong my sinuses were burning and my nose was watering. It was terrible. I had to blow my nose at the corner. I was not able to pinpoint the precise location of the burning, but it was in the vicinity of Lydia & Helen/Bellaire. My assumption is that someone had a fireplace going when it was 56 degrees outside.

I wanted to relate this example to you readers to illustrate how far smoke can travel. The distance from the source of the smoke (Lydia & Helen/Bellaire) to where I first detected it (Lydia & McKnight) is exactly 1/2 mile. The smoke was a nuisance that entire 1/2 mile distance and probably further than that. Smoke doesn't stay confined to the property of the burner. It can travel a great distance and inconvenience everyone downwind, which could be hundreds of people.

The wind pattern was east to west this evening.

Back to North St. Paul

At about 8:20 PM, I saw a huge plume of smoke rising from the back yard of a house near the corner of Poplar Ave. & Lake Blvd. It was the third house south of the intersection on the west side of the street. A giant cloud of smoke rose above the house. I could not smell the smoke from the street since the wind pattern was east to west. Sometimes grills can create large amounts of smoke for small periods of time. I don't think that was the case here. Directly behind the house on Helen St. the air was heavy with wood smoke. So either that person was burning wood or the neighbor behind him had a fireplace going. My suspicion is that the person on Lake Blvd. had a recreational fire.

To give you another idea of how far smoke can travel, I could smell wood smoke at the intersection of Chippewa & Shoshone. That's nearly 1/2 a mile away and due west of the house on Lake St. with the smoky back yard.

I thought I would try something. When I notice assholes burning and polluting the precious air we all must breathe this year, I am going to put them on a map.

That's the first one I've found for 2009. Each year for the past five years or so has gotten smokier than the year that preceded it. Last year was a miserable, smoky hell. This year will probably be worse.

I started documenting burning this year on 04/09/2009. In the five days since, I've smelled wood or grass smoke all five days. That's a 100% average early in the burning season. This does not bode well for the rest of the year.

Do you see this, Ms. Walczak?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday 04/12/2009 Burning

2:00 PM: Easter Sunday. Do we get a reprieve from smoky air in North St. Paul? No! Somebody is burning grass. The wind is mainly blowing west, but changes direction frequently. The smoke is detected when blowing west. It isn't that strong, but strong enough to smell it and make you uncomfortable. I was hoping that this holiday would bring relief from smoky air. I was wrong.

Who needs to burn grass on Easter Sunday?

3:30 PM: From here on the air was smoke free all evening. This was nice because I had to open the windows to remove the heat from cooking. A month from now I will not have this option because the air will be so smoky.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday 04/11/2009 Burning

2:15 PM: Some asshole is burning grass! It reeks! The smell is strong. It must be someone near. I looked outside and did not see any smoke from the usual culprits. I happened to leave my window open, now one of my rooms reeks of burnt grass! DAMMIT!

You people on the city council are worthless. You spent a lot of time and effort trying to build an internet system for the city which was resoundingly defeated at the poll. Sparing not one minute to lick your wounds, you have vowed to begin exploring alternative financing for Polar Net. Meanwhile, everyone in this city has to deal with smoky air on a daily basis because you refuse to do anything about it! Worthless!

3:00 PM: The smoke is gone. I noticed no more smoky air from this time through 8 PM.

Friday 04/10/2009 Burning

6:00 PM: Faint odor of burning grass. Someone in the distance is burning grass this evening. It stinks!

8:00 PM: Someone either has a fireplace or a bonfire going. It is about 50 degrees at this time. Probably a fireplace. Air is sickeningly smoky.

10:00 PM: Air is still sickeningly smoky.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday 04/09/2009 Burning

4:30 PM: Someone is burning yard waste. Light smoke on the wind smells like burning grass. No clue who the burner is.

6:15 PM: Still smells like burning grass if the wind is coming from a certain direction.