A few years back the Bay Area Air Quality Management District put together air restrictions concerning the use of wood burning and pellet burning on days with higher air pollution. The BAAQMD decided after according to them tons of research that wood burning stove, fireplace, and inserts in the nine Bay Area counties that they cover were the single largest polluter.
Since they were deemed the largest polluter they passed an ordinance that on certain days that their air monitors register a higher than normal pollution amount that all wood burning THE FOLLOWING DAY should be illegal. I have written about this before so I don’t want to go back over all of the incorrect information and ridiculous statements that went into the ordinance and the decision to put it into action.
What I found remarkable this summer is the amount of spare the air days that there have been. Last week we had three days in a row that were deemed high pollution levels. Never once since the winter spare the air days started have we had three in a row. Stop for a minute, just a minute, and think about that. The monitors don’t change, what they monitor doesn’t change, the position of them doesn’t change.
Last week was pretty warm, downright hot, I am sure that there was a couple of old timers sitting next to a fire because there always is but 99.9% of those polluting wood units were not in operation. If wood burning units in the winter are the cause entirely of a spare the air night, why do we have them in the spring and summer. Yes I understand temperature difference, climate zones, inversion layers, things like that are different in the warmer months it just seems a bit of an oddity that wood stoves and fireplaces cause so much pollution in the winter but in the spring and summer when they aren’t being used we have more air alerts.
Certainly in the winter wood stoves and fireplaces contribute to the pollution level in the air, no one will argue that but with all the advances in wood burning and with any new unit since 1992 required to be EPA certified they are hardly the polluters that they used to be and without any of them burning last week we still hard worse air quality than any week during the winter.
Just an observation that there must be some other polluters out there contributing the the air quality in the spring and summer. Possibly those same pollutions contributors have an impact during the winter months as well.
Seems like there is a reason to reopen the discussion about spare the air days since it is obvious that wood burning is not the cause entirely of winter air pollution when you figure in the spring and summer pollution levels as well.