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Unhealthy air hangs over Bay Area

Original post made on Nov 26, 2007

For the second time this season, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is calling on Bay Area residents to Spare the Air tonight and refrain from lighting a fire or using any other wood-burning appliances.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 26, 2007, 11:43 AM

Comments (26)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Please, remember not to light wood fires tonight, and report any addresses where you see smoke coming from the chimneys. Our lungs will thank you for it.


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Posted by Plan to burn wood
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Who are you going to report those people that you see smoke from their chimneys to?
Is there a local spare the air gestapo led by some our leading climate change proponents that will break down your door and douse your fireplace fire?
It's a request not an order to not burn wood.
Whatever happened to privacy and personal choice? I guess not in PA if it goes against the prevailing PC.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Plan, here's a quote from the article
""We are saturated with soot at this point and will reach the point that is unhealthy for those with impaired lung capacity and asthma," he said. "Cardiac issues can also arise from part of the matter passing into the blood stream.""

So, it appears that you are not concerned with the fact that the additional soot you put into the air will have a negative impact on your neighbors, some of whom may be physically challenged?


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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 26, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Health is not an issue of being "PC."


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Then maybe we need to ban the use of wood burning fireplaces, period.
I am surprised our city has not taken that step already (I know they ban wood fireplaces in newly built homes), but if it is such a problem then steps need to be taken or will that upset too many people with expensive homes?


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Posted by janette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 26, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Certainly the use of wood burning fireplaces should be banned in densely populated areas. I used to have a neighbor down the street who polluted the whole street on winter nights with wood smoke, a misery for those of us with asthma or who just didn't want to smell like smoke.

As pointed out above "your right to swing your fist ends before it connects with my nose."


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Posted by a long time resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 26, 2007 at 10:27 pm

There are efforts to ban the use of fireplaces.!!
Most people only use them occassionaly. Diesel busses and trucks go thru our neighborhoods daily, thousands of them every month and they spew black soot all year, every day and night.

Wood is a renewable fuel. Natural gas is being used to generate electricity and the price is going up all the time.

Most people who have trouble with smoke, etc probably have smoked cigaretts all of their lives.

There are now and have been for a long time clean burning fireplace inserts that pass and are almost smoke free when they get hot and they can heat a house and they can come with glass doors. Maybe they should get gov. subdiezes (sp) as do clean burning cars and solar power.

In home air filters can clean the air of smoke down to fractions of microns.


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Posted by No smoke!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2007 at 10:34 pm

"Most people who have trouble with smoke, etc probably have smoked cigaretts all of their lives."

This is really an ignorant statement. How do you know that? Do kids with asthma smoke cigarettes?


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Posted by Plan to burn wood
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 5:52 am

When I was driving home last night the radio station new channel (AM 740) was talking about the request BAAQMD had made--the news said that they were asking people to refrain from using wood burning fireplaces EXCEPT for those who had no other source of heat. I wonder why the weekly did not mention this fact in their story.
So before people get upset about others using wood burning fireplaces, maybe they need to find out why.
So Janette, I have a right also to stop you from driving your car or smoking in your house since that might affect my health also?
Y


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Posted by No Smoke!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 9:26 am

Plan, It seems you want to rationalize engaging in an activity that causes clear harm to others. You also appear not to want to accept responsibility for your actions, and instead want to point fingers at others. Do two wrongs make a right?


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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:01 am

Seems to me "Plan to burn wood" could care less how his actions affect others. It's this kind of logic that makes the "United States" feel like the "Divided States" these days. There's just no more empathy in the world.


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Posted by Plan to burn wood,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:04 am

Thank you No Smoke. Do you drive a car? That causes harm to others. If you do not drive do you take the bus? That also causes harm to others.
Do you eat meat? That causes harm to others also.

Until wood burning fireplaces are banned or laws are passed allowing government agencies to order EVERYONE no to use wood burning fireplaces, then it is still my right to burn wood.

Wood burning fireplaces are but a drop in the bucket of our pollution problems. If we are serious about addressing this issues the let us address all the causes, not just small ones.


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Posted by Plan to burn wood,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:07 am

Danny--it's the PA way--don't like the size of the house your neighbor is building--call it a monster home and try to get it stopped. Don't like the fact the neighbor is cutting down a tree on his private property--call Canopy and get it stopped. Unhappy about the remodel of a shopping center that will benefitthe entire neighborhood-protest against it until the major players pull out. Not satisfied with a building proposed for a blighted area on Park Blvd--go to court and get it stopped.
That is the PA way--no one cares how their actions will affect others--as long as their "quality of life" is not affected


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Posted by No Smoke!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:17 am

"That is the PA way--no one cares how their actions will affect others--as long as their "quality of life" is not affected"

I know few Palo Altans like the ones that Plan is defining., but it looks like "Plan to burn wood" wants to join the selfish minority of residents that continue to burn wood, even though they know that it can cause health problems in others..

He's still rationalizing his behavior because "other people do it". Plan, lots of people rob banks, why not you? I feel sorry for your cynicism.

Plan, fyi,, I have stopped burning wood in my fireplace. Also, I do drive, but have made a conscious effort to drive less, and walk, or bike, more. So have many, many others. You?

Here's some fireplace information, to better inform you in this matter
Web Link

Here's your chance to make a difference, and perhaps prevent an asthma attack in a child who lives in your neighborhood.

Are you aware that smoke trails in currents, often moving into open windows of neighboring homes?

here's more information...you might find a way to improve your fireplace before buring more wood
Web Link



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Posted by Plan to burn wood,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:39 am

No Smoke--so the issue is not really about burning wood--it is about burning wood (if you do ) in the new fireplaces. So the real issue that must be addressed is the old style fireplaces, not what is burned in them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr. BBQ
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:39 am

Mr. BBQ is a registered user.

Think it's OK for me to barbeque tonight? I use propane, got to be better than charcoal!

Anyone for Tritip tonight?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Smoke!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:54 am

Mr. BBQ,

Aren't you one of the near-extinct species that Darwin mentioned in his book?


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 1:19 pm

I can't really believe what I have been reading here. We are not talking about globabl warming, we are not talking about national issues, we are talking about the quality of the air in our own neighborhoods where we live and the air we all breathe. As someone who enjoys an evening stroll, I can smell and feel the smoke when I walk past someone's home with smoke coming out of the chimney on these still evenings. It is not very pleasant. I picture the owner inside, burning his wood, enjoying the ambience, but oblivious to what that is doing outside. This same homeowner would probably be quite likely to complain about noise from barking dogs, leaf blowers, noisy music, etc. but not realise that they are doing something just as un-neighborly. How about just treating our neighbors like we would want to be treated. It is called good manners, polite behavior and good neighborliness. And, if someone is unaware of what their smoking fire is like outside, go outside and smell the air.


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Posted by Mr. BBQ
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 27, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Mr. BBQ is a registered user.

Neighbor, I must be strange/nuts I enjoy the smell of fireplaces being used while I walk. I also enjoy the smell of my neighbors barbequeing/cooking. You should like you have nothing else to complain about. I would suggest staying a good distance from diesal buses/cars and trucks!

If you smell barbequed tritip, it's me tonight!

PS-Stay inside, play a board game.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Plan to burn wood
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Neighbor is playing the typical PA game of pointing fingers at others and telling them what they should and should not do. And the reason they should not do it is that they are displaying "bad manners", impolite behavior" and "bad neighborliness". These arguments have been used over and over again to prevent people from building new homes, rebuilding old homes, dealing with trees on private property and on and on it goes in PA.
Perhaps it would be refreshing for people like neighbor to try something really old fashioned--mind their own business and stop trying to dictate to others whatthey should and should not do.


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Posted by Brandon Hall
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm

I rent my living space and don't have access to a fireplace, but I love the smell of wood smoke, and am heartened whenever I smell it as I bike around Palo Alto during the cold spells.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 3:08 pm

I take offence that some think I am part of the PA problem. I try to be fair and polite, I have never criticized monster homes, leaf blowers or barking dogs, although I know many do. Personally, I have no opinion on the latter 3 although a barking dog would probably annoy me. I do however spend some of my time breathing and find the smokey evening air unpleasant. I feel sure that the people making the air smokey from their fireplaces may be unaware how others may find the air difficult to breathe in their vicinity. These people may (or may not) be the very ones who complain about monster homes, offleash or barking dogs, leaf blowers, etc. and as such do not realise that what they are doing upsets others as much as they are upset by others actions. At least a monster home does not make it difficult for others to breathe.
That said, my point was that we are all neighbors together and a little politeness and courtesy would not go amiss. What one finds acceptable behavior often upsets another. Remember, when you are pointing your finger at another, 3 are pointing back at yourself. We can't choose our neighbors, but we can choose to be a good neighbor. This is something worth remembering.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ronald L
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 27, 2007 at 3:12 pm

I chose to honor the advisory and did not have a fire
last night, and also chose to follow the request not to drive.
I wonder how many citizens who wish to regulate and report
their neighbors would bother to ride a bicycle ten miles rather than drive? Give me the smell a wood fire over tail pipe emissions any day.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Some people like the smell of Cuban cigars, but smoking them is now politically uncorrect also.


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Posted by oxygen junkie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2007 at 12:01 pm

To all who are generous enough to follow the recommendations and not burn wood, thank you.

Let's talk for a minute about the underappreciated value of a breath of clean air. I have asthma. The truth is I love fires, like most of us do. I walk and I love the smell of woodsmoke on a crisp fall evening. But I also struggle to get a breath when the air is bad. I've never smoked a cigarette in my life and on a day when the air is clean I run ten miles, so it's clear that air quality is a major factor.

I think more kids than adults have asthma, and they're not likely to post here. But I will tell you, it's pretty scary when you just try to take a deep breath of air and nothing gets in.

So thanks for not lighting those fires.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob Moore
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm

If you use electricity and think it is clean then you need to know that almost all the electricty generated comes from the burning of coal. Of course this is not in your backyard so that is ok with you. The mother whose family works in the coal mine will disagrre with you. Those living in a town with a coal fire plant will disagree with you.If you think burning natural gas is clean then you have not done your research.
Every single sourse that they propose we use to heat our homes is based on petroleum! A very safe sourse unless you are in Iraq or living next to an oil refinery.
80% of PM2.5 comes form sources other than wood fires.Almost all of that comes from open hearth fire places and not EPA certified stoves.
The problem is the oil, not the wood. I'm sure you will believe the BAAQMD, there web adress ends in .gov. That's another word for .oil!
You want to help your neigbors, end our dependence on oil.This will help your neighbors all around the world.
Tonight I will sit next to a cozy fire and wonder why over 1 million people have died in Iraq, 4000 Americans, just so we can continue to drive our cars and heat our homes using petroleum products.


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