A Fire in the Hearth: A Fundamental Human Right or Air Pollution?

Fire, one of the basic elements in our universe, is at the core of the Bay Area air quality debate.
Fire, one of the basic elements in our universe, is at the core of the Bay Area air quality debate.
This post in our opinion section is getting a great debate going about whether the right to burn a fire — an age-old tradition in the world's history — is being unfairly squashed by the Bay Area Air Quality Control District.

Folks who suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma, of course, will argue it differently.

What do you think? Join the conversation.
Bubba six pack January 05, 2014 at 04:37 PM
Just curious, but every time I read about some old timer who out lived everybody they always smoked, drank, ate bacon and eggs, burned fires, and worked hard. The key is working hard. if you're going to sit on your butt all day instead of getting exercise, you'll never flush out or burn off the bad stuff. Turtles live for a 150 years, but I'm not shopping for a shell. I'll take my allotted years living it my way, and light a fire, But..... If it bothers my neighbor, I'll stop. These old geezers were never mean to their neighbors.
novato 3per January 05, 2014 at 08:36 PM
First of all, they will have to come with independently verified scientific evidence that air quality has changed in Marin - and then prove that the small number of wood burners impact the overall air quality in a significant way. We get a nice West-East breeze from the ocean, and why shouldn't we enjoy that benefit - we sacrifice and work hard to live in such a geographically advantageous area. If you have a condition, you take care of your condition, in most cases, you are not going to be downline from your neighbors smoke stream, especially since heat rises. If so, grab your inhaler like you normally do, or don't go outside and suck down the smoke. This phenomenon of banning other people's rights because you have a condition has got to stop - for example, in my kids school, someone has a nut allergy, so I can't send my kid to school with a peanut butter sandwich for some much needed protein for my finicky eater?. Where is the personal responsibility? Certainly in the not too distant past, we would never have thought of infringing on another person's rights in their own home. This has become a victimhood culture. What we're asking for is a simple extension of the old liberal mantra "keep your laws off my body", keep your laws off my chimney, especially if it is burning clean, I'm willing to meet anyone there, at applying a reasonable smoke rule, such as no trash or green wood burning. Ive noticed that even duraflame logs can make a noxious smell, but my hardwood burns so clean you can hardly tell it's burning, and that is how I've burned many a night when it's been banned. I've lost 27 days of energy $$$ savings that could have been used on my bills that are adding up - where is MY relief people??!!! It's getting ME so choked up that I might need medication ..what about the health consequences of stress caused by excessive legislation and financial hardship??? We need to push back on this now..
novato 3per January 06, 2014 at 08:37 AM
please see the post "are they serious?" where it appears to be continuing
Bob Ratto January 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM
This is simply about control, we arguably have THE cleanest air in the world where land meets the Pacific. It is hard for me to understand that anyone would be willing to accept a fine from a group that should not have police power. Next will be a ban on all fires. Little by little....
Hopkin January 06, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Bob, then only criminals will have fire; that's the same way they want it with guns!
Hopkin January 06, 2014 at 10:24 AM
And pretty soon only criminals will have sticks & stones, too!
Concerned Citizen January 06, 2014 at 11:02 AM
how about a little common sense replacing a worthless agency with illegal policing powers. They don't make a bit of difference. Do you know anyone that has ever been fined? how about if your neighbor is smoking you out you talk to them instead of reporting to big brother. It is the same with almost all aspects of a socialist CA. legislature that is out of touch and led by a small radical group that is taking away our rights and liberties.
2MudDucks January 06, 2014 at 11:43 AM
Surely many of you saw the show last night on 60 Minutes about the horrific effect of volcanoes within our global atmosphere. One burp or belch does the impact of a thousand / million plus indiscretions we might cause, and the same is true about the effects of wildfires. This all comes down to ‘the Authority’ having control through the loss of our individual liberty. By extension from Novato to County, ABAG to State, and ultimately USA to UN, it’s the stronger taking away the liberty of the lesser in number until they see we are united to fight.
M. Manzano January 06, 2014 at 11:48 AM
I find it very interesting that the government-media complex can dictate when we can have warmth in a fireplace because of pollution, when city governments are saturating public property with Monsanto herbicides like Roundup (the same corporation that gave us Agent Orange), and Federal and State governments funding geo-engineering programs so aerial spraying of barium, nano aluminum-coated fiberglass [known as CHAFF], radioactive thorium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, desiccated blood, mold spores, yellow fungal mycotoxins, ethylene dibromide, and polymer fibers. According to those who are responsible for geoengineering, the goal is to reduce global warming. Wow, right in line with the cult of "going green". People sure are gullible. Don't worry though, the more you people buy the banning of plastic bags, electric cars that burn people's houses down, and accepting more restrictions and earnings taken under the masquerade of "saving the planet", your children will thank you for it. Follow your leaders.
Michelle D January 06, 2014 at 12:24 PM
Wood smoke is a large contributor to winter time poor air quality that affects the society and the environment as a whole. To improve the air for everyone, everybody has to pitch in.
M. Manzano January 06, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Like I said, follow your leaders. I'm sure they have your best interest in mind.
Rick Voorhees January 06, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Our wood burning insert burns so clean you can't even see the smoke..All you see is the waves of heat coming out. People with open wood burning fireplaces do not burn clean there is a difference.. I also believe it's our right to burn when we want to...The whole idea is to save money in these rough times, I haven't received my latest PG & E bill yet but I bet it will be outrageous...The EPA should treat each county separately and not as a whole...Why should our county have to abide by the rules when we all know the biggest polluters are the East Bay and the South Bay...I'm thinking of sending the bill to the EPA, lol...
M. Manzano January 06, 2014 at 12:38 PM
The EPA needs to be dismantled.
novato 3per January 06, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Al Nymous January 06, 2014 at 09:09 PM
3per- google Jefferson state project.
novato 3per January 06, 2014 at 09:40 PM
I know about it Al..and I'm not there yet.. But seriously folks, if this nonsense about Marin Air quality were true, we'd see a spike in Emergency Room admissions on "spare the air days" but we don't. Asthma is With the cold snap gripping the nation, energy prices are going through the roof, and oil production has slowed, costs will be passed on to your Utility companies, and then to you, BAAQMD will soon have to put up or shut up as far as science goes when they are robbing people of their basic needs and rights, wasting what little discretion we have as to our heating bill for a whole month's loss of savings, besides the right to warm our souls and our backsides.
novato 3per January 06, 2014 at 09:44 PM
Meant to say Asthma has many other causes other than the nonexistent polluted air of Marin, see this link: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/taking-control-of-asthma/reduce-asthma-triggers.html If you're seeing dirty air outside in Marin, you probably just need to wash your windows.
novato 3per January 07, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Government overreaches into our home, snatching away a cherished amenity, a warm glowing fire in the stove, part of what makes a house a home, what makes the children gather around, forgetting electronic devices, talking to one another, family time, once a centerpiece of the living room, now dark, devaluation of our home, a way to heat water for tea and cocoa, humidifying, primal reassurance on a dark night, security for the soul, birthright - not yours to take away, a clean hot fire not hurting anyone.
Hopkin January 07, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Well, apparently someone on craigslist needs for y'all to spare the Air: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/mis/4274446008.html
Al Nymous January 07, 2014 at 10:50 AM
PGE would be very profitable by eliminating fireplaces. It would not be a far fetched conspiracy for PGE lobbying a group of unelected bureaucrats to take away fireplaces.
Bubba six pack January 07, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Many years ago, the cable companies financed the campaigns to declare TV antennae on homes a blight, and got many cities to ban them.
BJL January 07, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Here ya go... http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/11/how-to-easily-heat-your-home-using-flower-pots-and-tea-lights.html
novato 3per January 07, 2014 at 11:37 PM
How do the breathing-challenged ever manage to take a car or bus, or ferry what with the actual exhaust and fumes they must inadvertently be inhaling? No outcry there? Why is it any worse inside your home when a neighbor wishes to burn their stove or insert?Transportation not yet the target, just picking off a battle they think they can win..
novato 3per January 07, 2014 at 11:38 PM


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