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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Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday 06/11/2009 Burning

7:35 PM: Faint wood smoke. I was sitting by the open window when I detected wood smoke coming in. I stepped outside to gauge the intensity of the smoke. It was faint, likely from a distant wood burner. Close all windows. 71 degrees and sunny. Perfect weather to leave the windows open and enjoy the cool summer evening. BUT YOU CAN'T!

I do not understand why the city wrote an ordinance allowing this much (or any) recreational wood burning. One person burns wood and hundreds of people, if not thousands, have to breathe smoky air.

Where is the public benefit in allowing a small number of people to burn wood at the expense of thousands? Do the city leaders consider that to be for the greater good?

8:00 PM: No wood smoke. Wood smoke from 25 minutes earlier is gone.

9:00 PM: No wood smoke.

9:30 PM: No wood smoke. Going to bed with all the windows in the house closed as usual.

I expected this day to be very light for wood smoke. That was not how things turned out.

10:50 PM: Moderately strong wood smoke. Got up out of bed to use the bathroom. On my way back I stepped out the back door to check the air quality. It is really smoky outside. Had we left the windows open, the entire house would reek of burning wood. Looking around, I did not see any of my immediate neighbors burning. It could be someone blocks away. Wood smoke does not stay confined to the property of the burner.

Would you like to wake up in the middle of the night with your bedroom and entire house reeking of wood smoke? If you live in North St. Paul, MN, you better get used to it. If you leave your windows open, it will happen often.

You cannot go to bed with the windows open in this city! You can't even enjoy a cool summer evening with the windows open! This is a terrible way to live!

The wood smoke continued into the wee hours of the morning. Had I not woken twice, I would have documented this day to be very light on wood smoke. With burning starting this late, perhaps the days earlier in the week that I found to be smoke-free actually had wood smoke after going to bed.

If I don't detect wood smoke before going to bed, that does not mean that someone wasn't burning later. Burning at 10:30 PM or later is common.

Babies and wood smoke

There are at least two families on this block with babies. One is 10 - 12 months of age. Earlier this week, I heard one of the babies crying around 5 AM. Hearing the baby crying so clearly, it was apparent the family left their windows open. If that family left their windows open this evening, that little baby with its delicate little lungs would be breathing smoky, polluted air. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency warns that wood smoke can be harmful to babies. Yet the city of North St. Paul, Minnesota, continues to allow the recreational burning of wood.

Why does the city government protect the right of wood burners at the expense of helpless little babies? This late evening's burning was probably the result of one recreational burner. One burner cannot find anything better to do than sit beside a pile of burning wood and everyone including little babies have to breathe smoky air.

This is not fair. This is not right. THIS MUST STOP!