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Old December 11 2013, 07:43 PM   #1
Flux Capacitor
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Wood Burning = Illegal

Well, in the San Francisco Bay Area it is, anyway...

For the fourth time this week, a Spare the Air alert has been issued for Saturday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
According to the district, a high pressure weather system along with colder temperatures have lingered in the Bay Area all week, causing pollution to become trapped and rise to unhealthy levels. When an alert has been issued, it is illegal residents to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuels indoors or outside.
Full Story

So...during one of the coldest winters we've experienced in years, this BAAQMD wants to make a cheap and easy way to stay warm illegal. Apparently, if your home is without a permanent heating system you're exempt (apparently the wood being burned in those homes doesn't affect the air) but otherwise, if you're caught burning wood, you're subject to a fine...although, at least in my city, the police department has refused to assist in enforcing this ban. Something about having real criminals to worry about.

I get that we all want to have clean, breathable air...but burning wood? Something people have been doing since we discovered what fire is? The smell of someone having a fire in their fireplace has always been a pleasant smell for me, sort of one of those smells that lets you know it's time for the holidays.

I could see maybe suggesting people find another means of heating their homes if possible, but a ban? Seems like a pretty big overstep.
<img id="ums_img_tooltip" class="UMSRatingIcon">
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Old December 11 2013, 07:48 PM   #2
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Wood smoke releases potassium hydroxide into the air. In an environment where there is already a certain amount of air pollution, this can create a dangerous situation where the wood smoke is pushed to the ground.
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Old December 11 2013, 07:49 PM   #3
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Well, you know, there are people to whom polluted air is potentially lethal, and anything the city can do to help alleviate that is a good idea.

They have an exception for people who have no other option but a fire stove/fireplace, so what more do you want?

Sorry, you don't have the "freedom" to pollute the air any way you want.
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Old December 11 2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

First question: If this BAAMQD manages to succeed in making wood-burning illegal, will you be unable to burn wood to stay warm in your home? Or is this you raising the rage flag by proxy?

More importantly, did you miss the part that wood burning is only illegal when the alert is actually issued? The rest of the time it would appear to be ok?

According to the district, a high pressure weather system along with colder temperatures have lingered in the Bay Area all week, causing pollution to become trapped and rise to unhealthy levels. When an alert has been issued, it is illegal residents to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuels indoors or outside.
I mean, come on. My apartment is one of four in a building built in 1908 and was owned by Al Jolson. I'm 95% convinced I don't have any heat insulation in the building and the central heat doesn't work. So my landlord provided me with two space heaters and I bought two more. (one for each room).

Too, Space heaters are pretty cheap, so I'm not seeing what the big deal is.
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Old December 11 2013, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

It's not exactly cheap to run a heater to warm an entire house. What about those who have heaters but could benefit from a cheaper means of providing heat? I guess they're just SOL.

The real question is...how do they even plan to enforce this? The cops don't want anything to do with it, so I don't see how some air protection district is going to have any authority to start fining people.

I understand that it's only illegal when the alert is in effect...it just so happens that the alert in in effect during the coldest days of the winter so far, when people could use the heat the most. <img id="ums_img_tooltip" class="UMSRatingIcon">
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Old December 11 2013, 07:59 PM   #6
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
It's not exactly cheap to run a heater to warm an entire house. What about those who have heaters but could benefit from a cheaper means of providing heat? I guess they're just SOL.
What about not having to waste energy? Why do you (I assume this is you we are talking about, yes?) have to heat the entire house when you're only in at most, one or two rooms at any given moment?

The real question is...how do they even plan to enforce this? The cops don't want anything to do with it, so I don't see how some air protection district is going to have any authority to start fining people.
Then again, what's the big fucking deal?

I understand that it's only illegal when the alert is in effect...it just so happens that the alert in in effect during the coldest days of the winter so far, when people could use the heat the most. <img id="ums_img_tooltip" class="UMSRatingIcon">
If your only concern is your own altruistic concern for people's well-being and their need to stay warm, space heaters are a cheap and easy way to stay warm, legally. So is dressing in layers.

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Old December 11 2013, 08:05 PM   #7
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
...
Do you complain as much in real life as you do here?
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Old December 11 2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

I remember the time in the 60s to the early 70s, the people on our street would rake the leaves into the road every fall and burn them. Apparently it became illegal at some point because a cop drove up one day and told us to put the fire out.

Its funny how things that used to be considered normal you would never consider doing today.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal



Thanks in part to measures like this and higher vehicle pollution standards San Francisco has dropped off the American Lung Association's Top 25 Most Smog Polluted Cities in the US.

San Francisco drops off top 25 list for worst smog pollution

By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
Updated 2012-04-26 3:41 PM

The San Francisco Bay Area has cleaned up its air act and this year dropped off the American Lung Association's top 25 list for smog pollution.

The metropolitan area, which includes San Jose and Oakland, did not record a single day that exceeded federally designated ozone pollution standards last year, the San Francisco Chronicle notes, citing the ALA rankings.

The report says annual levels of particle pollution in the area have dropped an average of 15% to 30% since 2004, with a 51% drop in the number of days with unhealthy ozone levels since 2000.

Lung association analysts gave credit Wednesday to California for huge reductions in car exhaust and soot, particularly over the past decade, the newspaper says.

The Chronicle also notes that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has implemented strict wood-burning regulations during designated Spare the Air days.


http://content.usatoday.com/communit...og-pollution/1
That seems like a good thing to me, especially since it's handled in a reasonable way where it's only on certain days and if burning wood is your only source of heat you are allowed to get an exemption. That's the price of living in a dense city in an area prone to smog buildup. If you want to continue burning wood any day you want, there's the other 99% of the state available for you to move to.

San Francisco is a beautiful city. Don't you like seeing it? Don't you want to enjoy the crisp ocean air without inhaling smog and having it burn your eyes? Don't you want the tourists that are such an important part of San Francisco's economy to be able to breathe easily? Well, then this is just one small sacrifice to achieve that and really isn't much of a burden.

It's been getting down to the mid-30s here in Huntington Beach the past week. I just sleep in two layers of hoodies and sweat pants to keep warm (we've rarely had to use AC or heat the entire time I've lived here) and toss on an extra comforter. It's not a big deal. San Francisco is a little chillier on average, but it's hardly Ice Station Zebra.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:20 PM   #10
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Once again, you people seem to think I'm making a huge deal out of something when all I'm doing is bringing it up for discussion. I myself don't even have a fireplace in my apartment. I just general question things being banned that people typically can do in their own homes. Just because I bring something up does not equal me complaining. It's called starting a discussion.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:22 PM   #11
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

All excellent points. And let's not forget about California's susceptibility to fires. It may not be fire season anymore, (is it? I can never remember) but holy hell, the LAST thing I want is some moron burning wood to stay warm only to set off the next conflagration that destroys dozens of acres of land and puts more firefighters lives at risk.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:25 PM   #12
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Once again, you people seem to think I'm making a huge deal out of something when all I'm doing is bringing it up for discussion. I myself don't even have a fireplace in my apartment. I just general question things being banned that people typically can do in their own homes. Just because I bring something up does not equal me complaining. It's called starting a discussion.
This crap never gets tiresome. Do you have a playbook for your threads or something, with only a limited collection of possible responses?
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Old December 11 2013, 08:26 PM   #13
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Once again, you people seem to think I'm making a huge deal out of something.
You are. The measure is being brought in in a small area for a particular reason, and has noted benefits. This has been explained to you politely, with sources, and testimonies of board members, yet you respond in an antagonistic, passive-aggressive manner that is not warrented in any way.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:27 PM   #14
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Once again, you people seem to think I'm making a huge deal out of something when all I'm doing is bringing it up for discussion. I myself don't even have a fireplace in my apartment. I just general question things being banned that people typically can do in their own homes. Just because I bring something up does not equal me complaining. It's called starting a discussion.
And discuss it we have. Many reasonable explanations have been provided beyond what the original article you linked to included with regard to why this "ban" makes sense. Granted, it may not be the first course of action you would take if you were in charge of the city you live in, but then again you aren't in charge of the city you live in.

It'd be one thing if there were no other viable alternatives to staying warm in the winter and it would also be another thing if there were no exceptions being made.... but the government seems to be handling this all in a completely reasonable and all-encompassing manner in terms of their consideration.

Once again, not seeing the big deal.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:31 PM   #15
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Re: Wood Burning = Illegal

Move somewhere less crowded if wood fires ETA: whenever you feel like it are that important to you.
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