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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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.


  1. North Saint Paul building its own internet connectivity is the worst f***ing idea in the world. Does NSP need 3 competing trash collectors and 3 competing electric companies too?

  2. Do you seriously believe North St. Paul is unique in the number of people who have recreational fires? I've spent years traveling around the country, and lived in many American cities, and I can tell you that people have bonfires everywhere. I was born in St. Paul, too.

    And you say "The smokiest city in the WORLD"?? Are you kidding?? Have you ever been to Bangkok? Its official nickname is "Smoke City". The stench is overwhelming!! There is no trash service, so EVERYONE burns their trash. That goes for the rest of Thailand too. Everywhere you go, you see the charred remains of trash fires on the side of the road. The sky in Bangkok is always overcast, and you can hardly breathe because of the fires, the unregulated exhaust and factories, and other pollution.
    In Mexico it's the same; everyone uses fire to eliminate trash, brush, whatever, because there is very little waste disposal at a municipal level.

    At the very least you need to change your title to "smokiest city in the COUNTRY" -- even then it doesn't make sense, but it's better than claiming that north St Paul is smoker than Bangkok or Mexico. At least N. St. Paul has trash collection so people don't have to use fire to get rid of ALL their trash. Seriously.

  3. Becky,

    I've lived in North St. Paul for several years now. Prior to the early 2000s, recreational burning was RARE. It was very RARE to smell smoke. Smelling smoke more than twice a month was uncommon. People didn't feel the need to burn grass, wood, or whatever they could get their hands on.

    Within the past four or five years burning has become commonplace in this city. You cannot go a day without smelling the horrid stench of smoke. Every damn day. It is 2:30 PM Easter Sunday and somebody is burning grass!

    I document the smoky air in this city daily. Take a look back at my posts from last year to see what we have to live with in this city.

    Sometimes the smoke is so bad that you walk in a cloud. It burns your sinuses and makes your eyes water. You literally cannot breathe it is so smoky.

    You cannot open your windows. Stepping outside leaves your hair and clothes reeking of smoke.

    This is not an enjoyable way of living.

    Just because people burn more in third world countries does not mean we should be happy about breathing smoke in our own homes. We live in a civilized society enlightened enough to realize the dangers of air pollution. If you don't think wood smoke is air pollution, try coming to my neighborhood sometime and try breathing the air for a few hours.

  4. Where is your neighborhood? I'd love to come by and see how smoky the "smokiest city in the world" is.

  5. Anonymous, just read the blog if you want to know the smoky areas of the city (of which there are several). The smokiest times are typically between 6 - 9 PM during the summer. I addressed you in my post 4/15/2009.

    This is a small city. You can traverse the east-west roads of the northern half of the city in l0 - 15 minutes. Roll down your car windows and you will eventually encounter wood smoke. It shouldn't take you long. I found three areas with wood smoke tonight. This is one smoky hell of a city.


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