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, March 17, 2012

Bonfire season starts early this year

Our unseasonably warm March has led to an early start of North St. Paul's burning season. I usually don't start documenting smoky air from bonfires until April. If this early burning is any indication, it is going to be a long, smoky hell of year. It's always polluted as hell in North St. Paul. 2012 could be the worst year ever for wood smoke pollution. I find more of those chimnea and metal fire baskets every year.

I saw my first bonfire on Saturday March 10th. The house on the corner of Beam & Chippewa was burning wood in their firepit. The ground was soggy, snow was still on the ground, and they could not wait to sit slumped in chairs in front of a smoky fire. They looked bored. The temperature was about 58 degrees at the time, about 6:45 PM. The smoke was drifting north and I could smell it all the way to Lydia in Maplewood, a quarter of a mile away.

I saw my second bonfire on Wednesday the 14th. A home on the corner of Shoshone & Chippewa had a fire burning unattended in a fire basket. I did not see anyone around in the yard. This is the first time I have seen that house burn. I saw a metal fire basket in the backyard a few weeks ago and it may be that another household has decided to join the smoke pollution party. There were smoky patches of air all over the place this evening. The temperature was 70 degrees when I was out. The smoke may have been from bonfires or recreational fireplace use. Does anyone need to have a fireplace going to heat their home when it is 70 degrees outside?

Our winter seemed smokier than past winters. I documented the smoky air every day this winter. I haven't decided if I am going to update the blog with the winter wood smoke conditions. You expect wood smoke in the air during the cold months. But winter is our least smoky season in the city of North St. Paul. The air in winter is much less polluted than in spring, summer, and fall.

As with most winters, there was almost never any wood smoke in the air during the morning hours or early afternoon on weekends. People need to heat their homes at 7 AM during the week, but they aren't using fireplaces to do it. The smoky air in winter occurs mainly during the evenings. Fireplaces are not used for home heating as much as for recreation. If people were using fireplaces for home heating the air would be smoky at all hours of the day.