Increased fireplace use during power outage impacts air quality

January 20, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Jan Bagge (right) and neighbor Flora Lindsay purchase 14 gallons of gas at the East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast Union 76 station for the generators at their Preston homes. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

The air in Issaquah is thick with woodsmoke Friday as residents light up fireplaces for warmth amid a regional power outage.

The agency responsible for monitoring air quality in the region, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, ranked the air quality in King County as moderate Friday.

The ranking means air quality is acceptable, but for some pollutants a moderate health concern exists. The health concern impacts people sensitive to air pollution — small children, senior citizens and people suffering from chronic health conditions.

The air pollutants can be harmful for people suffering from heart disease, diabetes, asthma and lung diseases. Pollutants pose the most risk to children and older adults.

Amy Warren, a Puget Sound Clean Air Agency spokeswoman, said woodsmoke and other pollutants in the air can also affect people in good health as they exert themselves to clean up downed trees or other debris from the recent snow and ice storms.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency officials put a burn ban in place last week, but lifted the order Jan. 14. The possibility of another burn ban in the days ahead is unlikely.

“Given that so many people are without power and relying on stoves or fireplaces for such an immediate need, we wouldn’t call a burn ban in that situation,” Warren said.

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5 Responses to “Increased fireplace use during power outage impacts air quality”

  1. Jack Putnam on January 20th, 2012 4:42 pm

    200,000 to 250,000 homes are out of power, people are doing what is needed to stay alive and stay warm and you are concerned about air quality. Get real, get a life, its time for a reality check. Why don’t you spend the next few days and nights in a home without heat. JP

  2. Garrett Johnson on January 20th, 2012 10:37 pm

    This is by far the most useless article I’ve ever read on this site. Air quality? Seriously? Who even wrote this? This should be on the Onion.

  3. Dave Law on January 21st, 2012 10:50 am

    I was going to say something but jacks putnam said it for me, thanks jack.

  4. Jeremy on January 23rd, 2012 2:27 am

    Yes these fuel industry pawns think they have a justifiable argument in the name of public health. Its a business. They never produce relevant toxicology to their epidemiological coincidences and cost benefits. They are in a fantasy land in the name of old fashioned mechanical economics. Come on internet – stop this spread of prime time gullibility. These ‘experts’ preach environment and health yet their science is of the political, mechanical and economical kind. It certainly doesn’t follow much of the natural organic kind. Give their funding to those who will actually make a difference. Not just regurgitate PR garbage.

  5. Steve on January 23rd, 2012 11:37 am

    Wood fuel is simply organically-stored solar energy. They should be overjoyed by this development!

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