http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/index.php?i=3&d=&t=19750


Town Square

When are they going to outlaw burning fires in fireplaces?

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 16, 2012

I haven't been able to open my windows for fresh air all evening because someone has been burning wood since this afternoon and now it's 11:00PM and there is still smoke in the air. Is there any reason why people should be allowed to pollute the air and impact the general public because they to use their fireplace? I don't care if people want to poison themselves with cigarette smoking because it only impacts themselves. Burning a fire impacts the rest of us and should be outlawed.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I've been wondering the same thing for a few days ... is burning wood in a fireplace still legal ... that's assuming that wood is not your primary source of heat.

Clearly those burning wood in their fireplaces is something the whole city cannot do anymore ... so those who do it are doing it at the expense of everyone else. It's downright antisocial if you ask me - and even worse when there is not some wind or something to disperse the smoke and it hangs in the air all day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BanIt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:28 am

Yes, these fireplaces spew fine particulates and toxic gases into the air that end up in our lungs. I rush inside when I start to smell burnt embers in the night air. To think, years ago I thought that was a pleasant smell. Now the facts are known, it is high time to ban wood burning stoves and fireplaces. Frankly in a well-informed community like Palo Alto, I find it very selfish and un-neighborly of people to subject people in their community to such a health hazard.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:11 am

We had friends over this weekend for hors d'oeuvres & drinks by the warm, glowing fireplace. Everyone had a great time, and the fire was a key part of this winter tradition, keeping friends close and comfy for hours on end.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by clean air
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

It's going to be real hard convincing your neighbors to stop throwing smoke into the air on rainy days. The rain washes most of the smoke out of the air. However, on clear days, smokey air is a huge health problem for your neighbors. Many people will suffer from burning eyes or burning lungs and your smoke forces them to hide indoors. This is especially a problem for children and the elderly. If you must light up, please do it only when it is raining.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

This is exactly the same debate as the gun debate. Some think it is dangerous and others think it is their right.

Burning wood, coal or anything else may feel right to those who want to do it just like owning a gun feels right as a form of protection. But to those who think that fireplaces pollute the atmosphere there are others who think that guns in society make it easier for the insane or criminally minded to get hold of them and cause mayhem.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

In the spirit of compromise, I will limit our household to one fire per week (we usually have 2-2.5 this time of year), if three people who are against fireplace usage acknowledge that it is neither inconsiderate nor evil to gather 'round the hearth from time to time.

Come Gather 'Round The Hearth
by Septimus Winner (1827-1902, USA)

Come let us gather 'round the hearth,
The chilly nights are growing long;
The golden crops are gather'd in- My boys;
Come let us have a merry song
And let the wint'ry tempest blow;
The freezing breath of winter come,
We'll have a merry time I know my boys,
We'll sing of home, we'll sing of home.

The summer from the earth is gone,
And flow'rs have wither'd on the stem;
Let's sing of hearts that love us most, my boys,
And dream of joys we share with them;
And as we watch the blazing fire,
And sing of other days to come,
Our only joy shall be to dream my boys,
To dream of home, to dream of home.

The winter time of life my boys,
Is follow'd not by spring anew,
Then let us with a heart tonight, my boys,
Enjoy the scene that comes to view.
Yes! let us with each other wile
The joys that fate may bid to come.
And meet the light of woman's smile, My boys,
When all at home, again at home.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

Fireplaces are GROSSLY inefficient, Chris.

They suck in more cold air thru every crack and cranny in your home, no matter how new the home.

Once you get a few feet away from the fire, you can feel the cold air.

As far as your "deal"? How selfish of you. Destroying someone's health and/or quality of life, and you offer a compromise to only partially harm them?

Wotta guy!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

Chris, just put the image on your huge TV screen. Those "fire" DVDs can be purchased at Bed, Bath, Beyond.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

"someone has been burning wood since this afternoon "

Be grateful it's wood. A former neighbor used to burn her garbage in her fireplace. Dense smoke and heavy stink.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

>How selfish of you. Destroying someone's health and/or quality of life

As a parent of an asthmatic child, I can state that fireplaces are not the main problem, in fact a very small issue. The problem is the tree-hugger crowd, which insists that the pollen that comes off their trees is a "natural" event, thus MUST not be regulated (by the removal of the trees).

Oak trees can produce a ton of pollen, yet they are protected. It would be much healthier for our asthmatic friends, if the oak trees were cut down, and used as firewood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

Gary, may you find some measure of peace this Christmas. It's out there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a couple times a year
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

We have a wood burning fireplace. We use it a couple of times a year. I would not understand why we would not have the right to have a wood fire burning inside our indoor fireplace a couple times a year when many other toxic things keep being allowed.

How about all the people who barbecue and have outdoor fires going every week-end in the summer? How about gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers? and on and on?

Please, leave alone those people who have a wood fire inside their houses a couple times a year at most.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

Why not convert the conventional fireplace to gas logs? You can still have a roaring fire and all of its charm & comforts.

Lights easily, burns efficiently and you can use the fireplace on the spare the air days.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

@ Crescent Park Dad - I'll convert to gas logs if you turn your gas BBQ into a microwave. And since Crescent Park homes are notoriously oversized, I'll expect you to buy a 200,000-lb TerraPass carbon offset for your past 10 years of overly indulgent choice of home.

TerraPass link here: Web Link

OK, now I'm expecting to hear from the PA parent who, when the fireplace scene in their childrens' favorite animated Christmas cartoon comes on, pauses the movie and reminds their offspring how inconsiderate the characters are who nuzzle up to each other in warm embrace.

Kids: Santa says it's OK to make the occasional fire, and that your parents are just stressed from work! Merry Christmas #:^) #:^) #;^)

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

Fireplaces are quite inefficient, as highlighted. Mr Zaharias, if he owns and uses a "traditional" fireplace, finds he has to run his heater to warm the rest of the house that has cold air sucked into it from the "draw" induced by his fireplace.

It's his energy bill, not mine.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Andrew
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Lets limit what you can watch, what you can eat, what you can think, and everything else, because its unhealthy.

If you don't like it, don't do it, and spread awareness, and offer other choices, invent something, but don't try shoving laws down other people's throats.


Happy Holidays :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BanIt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

No one has mentioned the winter Spare the Air days and why we have them. I hope that the fireplace users at least comply with that rule, although I often smell burning on those nights too. I still think it is wildly selfish to pollute the air around your community. Sorry if it interferes with your Victorian ideas of holiday gathering around a open hearth. Below is a link to some facts about particulate matter. Maybe you can have a warm and cozy discussion about it while watching those chestnuts roasting:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I'm in Hawaii and have yet to see one chimney.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

> Gary, may you find some measure of peace this Christmas. It's out there.

I find this blatant propaganda strategy irritating to tell you the truth CZ.

Your appearance on this board seems in the same motif as the way you burn fires. At 2.5 per week would be smoking out your neighbors inconsiderately, and if you have not had complaints (that you will acknowledge) I hope it is because you have extremely tolerant and forgiving neighbors and not that you are really so obnoxious that no one dares approach you to say anything.

Making the point of how you are comfy it is at home while spewing smoke into your neighborhood is classic, as is making the point that you are so fair and balanced compromising that you will cut down to what is still too much smoke.

Then when someone points out the hypocrisy, you wish them peace in the holidays. It might be out there but not furthered by hollow statements and forcing pollution on one's neighbors.

In my opinion, these days if people value the archetype of the fire and hearth, and the extravagance, enough to celebrate the holidays they should be willing to spend whatever money is necessary on gas fireplaces, or smoke processing equipment for them to be able to do it without affecting their neighbor, not waiting decades until it is discovered that hundreds of people died because of disease induced by woodsmoke from fireplaces.

Fireplace have gone the way of the outhouse, and we would never tolerate someone claiming to feel so sentimental about outhouses that they should be allowed to build and operate an outhouse on their city property.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by clean air is critical to many
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Yes, the cranky ones here, about to pull out their favorite phrase ("nanny state") probably don't have a ten year old with asthma.

So "graciously" offering to pollute a little less in exchange for some egotistical "victory" ("...if three people ... acknowledge...") seems like the hollowest of gestures.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by I've Evloved
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I'll never go back to a wood burning fireplace. we got a great insert and have never once longed for the days of when we had to hassle with making a fire. Push button on/off ease and clean burning gas.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

@ Anon - 4 out of 5 of my neighbors are great, and the 5th one & I stay out of each others' hair. So it must be that I am obnoxious, though my friends, family & neighbors have yet to tell me. I'm impressed you alone have been able to figure out my true character.

Thanks for voicing your opinions; I value hearing it. I hope you are not offended if I say that the laws of this land (Spare The Air being one), while perhaps merely an inconvenience for people like you who are in sole possession of the truth, are nevertheless the social contract we all must live by, at least until such time at which your camp imposes martial environmental law on me & mine.

My address is easy to find,
My smoke is easy to see
If Spare The Air's not in effect
You should just let me be



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

> while perhaps merely an inconvenience for people like you who are in sole possession of the truth

Quit your nonsense, not "the" truth, "a" truth, of the truth of this case.

Pointing to the "social contract" as a Muslim points to the Koran or a Christian points to the Bible - there is nothing that makes these documents relevant to this discussion, it's the simple facts of air pollution and imposing your pollution on others without responsibility. Quit drifting off point.

and ...

In my opinion, these days if people value the archetype of the fire and hearth, and the extravagance, enough to celebrate the holidays they should be willing to spend whatever money is necessary on gas fireplaces, or smoke processing equipment for them to be able to do it without affecting their neighbor, not waiting decades until it is discovered that hundreds of people died because of disease induced by woodsmoke from fireplaces.

Fireplace have gone the way of the outhouse, and we would never tolerate someone claiming to feel so sentimental about outhouses that they should be allowed to build and operate an outhouse on their city property.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

As someone who has asthma, and children who have asthma as well, I wish that Spare the Air days would be enforced. Personally, I wish that all wood burning wood be eliminated because it just adds to air pollution, and the pollution without the woodsmoke is enough to irritate our lungs by itself.

Not everyone with asthma can afford to live on ocean front property, which several allergists have told us over the years, is the best place for asthmatics to be. It is expensive and impractical, commute-wise, so we are condemned to breathe polluted air.

Why anyone with lung issues, or anyone who cares about someone with lung issues, would build a wood fire is beyond me. They don't even heat that well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by So Typical
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Oh, I see CZ. When you agree with the laws, they are "the social contract we all must live by", but if they affect you, then they are "martial environmental laws" "imposed" on you and yours by some "camp"
Well said. Well revealed. You _ARE_ the Palo Altan. Congratulations and stay where you're at; right where you belong.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm

@ Anon - by 'social contract' I mean 'law'. Spare The Air regulations are what applies here, and as long as I don't run afoul of those, you're in no position to tell me what to do. That legal statutes appear to you as irrelevant as one religion or the other, should give you cause for introspection.

@ DucatiGirl - I've signed up for Spare The Air alerts to be delivered to my inbox, and will abide by them and encourage others to do so, something I've not done to date - you have my word on that. I'm sympathetic to your condition, but don't imagine you are entirely unsympathetic to the value I place on quality family time.

@ So Typical - I might be wrong, but it appears you've misunderstood me. By 'until such time at which your camp imposes martial environmental law on me & mine', I was referring to Anon & others here's collective demands that I go beyond today's legal statute and stop wood burning completely. I will do so if it becomes law, but not because an ill-informed, ill-willed bunch of anonymous posters mistakenly thinks they have a moral high ground from which to speak. I burn wood from time to time, and my name is Chris Zaharias.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pro fireplace
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I have ankylosing spondylitis and love to curl up by a roaring fire in my fireplace. As long as people abide by the law, I am in favor of fireplaces. There are always people here who think they know better how to live our lives. Where I come from they ate called yentas


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fire means smoke
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

>love to curl up by a roaring fire in my fireplace
As has been pointed out above, a "roaring fireplace" is sucking the heat up your chimney at a high rate.

The airflow out of your home must be replaced, that's why the rest of your house gets colder with your roaring fire -- the replacement air is from the outside.

I also have back issues; I find a blanket is quite comforting for the times between physical therapy and exercise. Heaters work well, and without exhausting the warm air OUT of my home.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by nor cal mom
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

This is the craziest discussion ever! Have any of you lived outside of Palo Alto?
Do you realize that in other towns people grow weed in their backyard, park multiple cars on the lawn, let their dogs poop anywhere, burn trash, throw parties without handing out flyers to warn you of the noise, ride bikes without helmets, smoke cigarettes while walking in the street, leave cars parked on the street for months, leave their Christmas lights up all year long, rent out their garage to college kids, and so on? Lower your expectations of one another.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I bike here year round and it is extremely unpleasant to be biking quickly and then taking a breath full of smokey air. As an immigrant from Canada, it's perplexing to me why anyone would even _want_ to burn wood in a fireplace. We mostly switched to gas fireplaces a long time ago.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

>I bike here year round and it is extremely unpleasant to be biking quickly and then taking a breath full of smokey air.

Then you must also be sensitive to taking big lungfills of pollen-filled air in the spring. Do you agree that trees, which produce pollen, should be cut down?

I have spent way too many nights in the ER, watching my child trying to survive a severe asthma attack, caused by oak pollen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CleanAirMeister
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

"The rain washes most of the smoke out of the air"

No it does not.

<i>cam</i>


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hip waders
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm

We're supposed to believe a story about a parent of a child with severe asthma, defending wood burning fireplaces, asking to cut down all the oaks?

Wow - it's getting deep here! Pretty unbelievable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BanIt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

nor cal mom - I'll lower my expectations as soon as the county lowers my property taxes. With all due respect, this town has high sticker prices for a reason. One reason I like Palo Alto is because people here are smart, well informed and they really care about the community. Well, a lot of them do at least.

Agree with hip waders about ths thread - suspicious logic...trolls?

For the record, I agree with the original post. Spare the Air days are not enough. Here's the web link again - what are the pro-fire folks not getting here?

"PM Health Studies
Since the 1980s, many scientific studies have been published that correlate exposure to wood smoke and PM with serious public health effects, such as higher instances of asthma, decreased lung function in children, increased hospital admissions, and elevated mortality rates." - Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 100% bicycle commuter
a resident of Los Altos
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I bicycle year round. I suck in lungfuls of all sorts of stuff: exhaust from old cars, that weird air that forms around roadways on hot summer days, exhaust and dust from leaf blowers and lawn mowers, smoke from hearth fires. It's all fine with me. I think it's sad that it's all there, but I don't mind breathing it.

I'm glad I minimize my contribution to it, though. I don't like polluting.

Maybe somebody here could explain to me the following. Suppose you know you're doing something that pollutes. The thing you're doing is just for fun or convenience. You're using a leaf blower instead of a rake; or you're burning wood instead of using a gas fire with clay logs, even though the two are almost the same; or maybe you're buying a new gadget even though the old one gets the job done. Why do you continue? Is it that you don't care about polluting? Or you think it's ok in moderation? Or that everyone else does it, and you don't want to miss out? Or you don't think too hard about the facts so you don't have to act on them?

I'm genuinely curious. I think a lot of these arguments could be ended just by stating premises. I mean, if someone says: "I don't mind polluting, and I don't care if my wood smoke makes you cough," then there's no need for further argument, right? The person's premises are obviously way different than yours, so there's nothing more to be said. You could call that person names, if you want to, but you can't really have a conversation with him.

At that point, the only recourse is regulation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

It's the same mentality, the same arguments used all over again by "Conservatives" who complain about liberty that were used by the tobacco industry so they could keep advertising and hooking kids on their product. You can't get through to such people, they just have to die off like the dinosaurs. Too bad they don't have to breathe their own smoke or think much about their own arguments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Karen: I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you trying to suggest that you have the right to pollute the air by burning trees because your child has asthma?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm

@PatrickD - I believe Karen's pointing out that the Eco/Health Fire Brigade crowd should either quickly find its equal wrath for God's oak trees & their asthma-inducing pollen, or they should chillax a bit on we wood-burning cave-men.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Chris Z: Cool. I was having problems figuring out if it was a poorly constructed "tu quoque" logical fallacy or a straw man. I did think the appeal to emotion thrown in at the end was a nice touch.

I mean no one would seriously equate setting a tree on fire to a tree sitting around giving off pollen, right?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I dont get it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

"I have spent way too many nights in the ER, watching my child trying to survive a severe asthma attack, caused by oak pollen."

Karen,
You live in an area where oak trees are native, they are not going away. Why would you live in an area that has Oak trees?

btw, I have nothing against fireplaces. Chris burn away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by inhaler devices
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Chris, as a self-admitted Neanderthal ("we wood-burning cave-men") perhaps you can't yet tell the difference between nature (and in Karen's case: hyperbole combined with a straw man) and actions that harm others, such as children with asthma.

Currently, it is your right to burn wood (creating pollution while inefficiently drawing cold air into your dwelling) so that you may satisfy your ego, as you described above (for "hours on end".)

Have a great Christmas. I'm sure many will think warmly of you this holiday season, as they refill the inhaler prescriptions for their children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

@inhaler devices - kindly go back to the beginning of this thread, wherein I recalled that "We had friends over this weekend for hors d'oeuvres & drinks by the warm, glowing fireplace. Everyone had a great time, and the fire was a key part of this winter tradition, keeping friends close and comfy."

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Big Jim
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

I'm so tired of being told by a few what most of us can or cannot do. Just ordered another cord of wood. Happy holidays!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

It is not only children who have asthma, adults do as well. Wood smoke is terrible, but the solution is to switch to gas logs. Oh, and cigarettes, Resident, DO have excactly the same impact on the people around the smoker, who have no choice but to inhale the toxins whethers they wish to or not. Breathing is necessary for life, wood burning and cigarettes are not. Need trumps want.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wait for it
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

I like to see the wood burners try and justify things. it comes down to "Don't tell me what I can and can't do"

I take great satisfaction that they spend money on wood, then have to pay higher utilities because the fireplace actually brings in cold air and all the fire heat goes up the chimney.
There were troglodytes who insisted on using DDT until there were laws in place so of course those laws were needed. New laws are inevitably coming regarding these personal incinerators and then the burners can grumble about nanny state laws.
I laugh.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Little John
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

cz - "'Round the hearth I am, my loved ones & I, feeling the warmth of the fire, while you embitter yourselves"

Allow me to step in and clarify: using an inhaler is medicating oneself, for either survival or improved quality of life, not "embittering" oneself.

Bless those of you who have full health. May your grandchildren enjoy the same.

Web Link

May your grandchildren never be considered poor, as they will have much higher rates of asthma.

Web Link

Merry!

Christmas!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by College Terrace Mom
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

Please outlaw fireplace fires. Breathing is essential and those of us with respiratory issues are severely effected.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Scarlet Letter
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:42 am

On a spare the air day I envision pedestrians quietly walking the streets at night looking for smoking chimneys. When found they remove their paintball gun and with neon orange balls flying, the mark will be made, and in the morning, the unwitting offender will realize that dried paint is really hard to get off masonry.
It'll probably come to this eventually, or maybe not, but it almost makes me want to buy a paintball gun :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by local mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

@Chris,
Earlier this week, I was up until 2am waiting for the air to clear out enough that I could start the drier to finish my asthmatic child's laundry with things needed the next day, because someone in the neighborhood had a really noxious fire going late into the night, with smoke that settled around my house. It almost seemed like they were burning other things than logs, too. We had to close up all the windows and turn on filters, but still my kid was coughing and having trouble getting to sleep, we do not have an airtight house.

Would you consider installing a gas-burning fireplace, at least for the sake of kids? You get the same lovely fire, and it's even faster and easier. The particulates produced by a wood-burning fire are dangerous to those with asthma, which especially affects children, and are associated with higher rates of stroke and heart attack.

From Web Link
"Every day in America:
44,000 people have an asthma attack.
36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
9 people die from asthma.

More Americans than ever before ... [suffer] from asthma. It is one of this country's most common and costly diseases." And "The annual cost of asthma is estimated to be nearly $18 billion."

Here's another good link to the health effects of burning woodsmoke from the EPA:
Web Link

I know these online forums can get heated (no pun intended), but the consequences of wood smoke are deadly serious. I don't have any problem with what you do in your home if it stays in your home, but wood smoke does not. Fortunately, there are alternatives so you can still have your fire, and you can even have gas installed with your existing fireplace to look very much the same. There may even be rebates available, there used to be.

(@Karen, pollens do not compare in that regard, and most people can avoid the high exposures anyway, where you ' if your neighbor's smoke is blanketing your house).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ndnorth
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

Oh the customary stupidity as a masquerade for ignorance+holier than thou attitude. If fireplaces/woodstoves have a catalytic combustor installed and a return device:
pollution is minimal
they provide warmth(how else do you think people heat their houses in cold/non-gas climates in the US and Canada?)
All new woodstoves in the city are required to have such devices.
Please remember that nobody such light a fire in the days when they are forbidden.

I long for a real fireplace and a real fire, not a fake gas one.
The smell of burning wood is one of the most delicious of the season.

Suddenly, h dear I can stand it you say. Well, and I can stand other stuff you do and have.(your barbacue, your car,etc)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ndnorth
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

100% bicycle commuter is 100% right and I wish I had read it before I posted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

@ Zaharias: Wow. I provide a suggestion, not a judgment or insulting remark and you come back with your BS. Nice.

Dude - you should never assume. Our house is 2400sqft including the garage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

@CPD - nor was my remark meant as any sort of insult, just making explicit that BBQ's, big homes and big PA lifestyles which we *all* share are no less worthy of communal scorn than wood fires, which is to say not worthy of scorn at all.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by feeding the troll
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Let's see, there's my flat screen for watching the Dubs, and my propane bbq that I use ten times a year.

How are my screen and bbq affecting the breathing of my neighbors? (those who replied above)

Wood smoke does. Get an insert, or get a stove. Or put a fire dvd up on your big screen. Or don't, and keep burning wood. But why are you posting over and over and over that:
- it doesn't hurt anyone, all evidence to the contrary
- and you're so proud of the way it makes you feel

You must really get a thrill out of it.

Fix it so it doesn't harm your neighbor's kid, or keep doing it but shut up and don't publicly brag about it. Otherwise you deserve the forum abuse you're actively trolling for....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

The responses here just fortify the rest of the nation's calling California the land of Fruits, Nuts and Flakes...

I suggest that the majority of you NEVER think of living or visiting Colorado.

1) Colorado ALLOWS OPEN CARRY, Yep, ANYONE can strap on a hog-leg and wear it or use it except places like Boulder, Denver or Aurora businesses who like to disarm their customers, like in that theater.

2) You are not aware of this; you are already getting poisoned by your air. The same thing applies to anyone in a heavily populated area. Complaining about fireplaces is like trying to stop tides with a fork. Going down the mountain, I can see the layer of smog and particulate matter. I also get the treat of burning eyes and respiratory problems before I head back.

Colorado has burn/no burn days. They are for places BELOW 7500. That means that I get ( and like wood smoke ) in the morning and evening. No catalytic converters, no rules and regulations by others on what you do with your time and abode.






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I think that if I were a big polluter, say with oil, coal, chemical manufacturing, big agriculture, to name a few examples, I would do my best to stir people up about wood-burning fireplaces. Let people get very angry at a very minor contributor to the damaging pollution we all encounter, ignore how much the constant major pollution contributes to the health conditions we are talking about here, and give them the illusion that we'd significantly improve public health by banning fires in fireplaces.

Think about it, all you anti-fireplace crusaders.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

The main problem, regarding breathing issues, is the oak trees. They are very dangerous to those asthmatics who have to experince their pollen.

The land that Palo Alto is now situated on had only a relatively few oak trees. Once Palo became settled, many peole began to plant oak trees. The pollen burden has now become immense. Unbelievably, oak trees are now PROTECTED! How crazy is this? We are ending up paying for much higher medical costs, because oak trees are causing major medical issues.

We need to cut down the excessive oak trees (use them as firewood), then we will have a MUCH healthier environment.

The air pollution problem is not smoke from fireplaces, it is pollen pollution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OAKland
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Oak trees?

Had relatively FEW oak trees?

Not from around here, are you? After shell mounds, the most ubiquitous evidence the local natives left us is the evidence that they harvested oaks/acorns for generations upon generations.

Few oak trees? C'mon, they named a freakin' town across the bay after all the oak trees around here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Granted, most of them are gone now...

As far as your allergies to oak, I can't help you about that. My allergies are to some different trees, including Juniper, but mostly molds. (tmi) Soot, and smoke, are dangerous to everyone. Glad to hear that several of the posters above also recognize htat overall air polluntion is still a problem also and we need to fund the EPAS to improve it.

As for fruits flakes and nuts? What kind of (insert previous description) would bring Colorado's open carry laws into this thread?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by moo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm

$100 per neighborhood wood fire.
That's about what it costs me.
I get migraine headaches from smelling wood smoke, and the only medicine that cures an acute migraine is an injection costing about $100, by prescription only.
Only two injections per week are medically allowed.
Wintertime? I get to stay inside a lot, and not by choice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Doing what you want on your property, like having a fireplace, BBQing, your OWN FORM OF TRANSPORTATION are just examples of what used to be rights guaranteed by the BOR in the US Constitution.

When personal rights get down to the basics, talking about those basics does involve THE ABILITY TO DEFEND THOSE RIGHTS.

How long was it when CARB, the EPA, ABAG and all of that crap was started? How much have they actually done to " clear the air "? ( pun and sarcasm intended ).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Early pictures of the biome in this area show some, but relatively few oak trees. It was mostly an open grass/brush plain, with a few spots of oaks, near water sources. Now we have an artificial oak enviroment, created by people. WAY too much pollen! Cut them back, now!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pro fireplace
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Once again we have gross exaggerations about a perceived problem-just like the claims that local drivers never stop at stop signs. We also have the group of people that think they can lecture everyone on what they think is right


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Her is the real problem

Governments around the world are grappling with an obesity pandemic.

Chronically overweight people are at a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack, cancer, and diabetes.

According to government and academic studies, nearly 50 per cent of all adults in the US and UK will be obese by 2030.

These fat people will bankrupt our health system

We are keeping our home fires burning with 2 cords of oak until Easter


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:42 am

Almost all of what I see here is ADD and just rudeness.

The issue is fires, and there is really no doubt they are unhealthy in a densely populated city.

Either you want to address the issue honestly and look for a solution, or you want to employ any number of numbnuts distraction arguments to undercut the public discussion of the problem.

Hardly any wonder we cannot address the smallest issue publicly anymore, our so called Town Forum is not really town forum at all, it's just a place where one or two people can run whatever discussion there is off in whatever direction and nothing will ever come of anything.

Why doesn't Palo Alto Online install some kind of "unscientific" polling mechanism, or at least allow registered people to "like" or "dislike" comments. Why not in the center of world technology can't someone do a little experiment in democracy?

Just focus on the issue, fires in fireplaces.
Oak pollen is a different unrelated issue.
This is not someone doing what they want on their own property either, unless they can keep the smoke contained.
This is not about the nanny state.
Just focus people, it's really not that hard.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oh Really
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:41 am

Punisher, do they let you use DDT in Colorado? Why not I wonder? Damn gov't telling us what to do again.
How about smoking. in colorado can one smoke in any enclosed workplaces statewide, including bars and restaurants or casinos?
Damn CO gov't telling the residents what we can't do again.

These laws on the books are there to protect the community. Sounds VERY familiar!

When will the gov't stop telling me I can't shred asbestos sheets in my neighborhood. I like watching the tiny fibers take flight. Its my right and I like doing it!
Such is the selfish logic I see here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

My son in law in Portland tells me that the woodsmoke in his neighborhood makes it impossible for him to go outside many winter nights, due to his asthma. I wonder how PA neighborhood compare and how the air quality can be measured so we have some facts to work with.

I think if we cooled the rhetoric and the accusations of selfishness vs being killjoys we'd be in a better position to explore solutions.

Also, let's look at the big problems, like auto pollution, factory emissions (tons of smoke plumes from Redwood City the other day) so we don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. Perspective, people, perspective!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

bottom line is that it's rude and impolite to pollute, esp. the lungs of thy neighbor, not to mention your own...what was once a neat idea, is now outdated. but ofcourse those who can afford to do so will continue to exercise their freedom to pollute, by golly, it's the american way. unfettered greed and pollution, no matter the costs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:29 am

Holy smoke, Big Al! You just convinced me that I should follow the greedy, polluting American way and light a big fire in my fireplace! Nice going, big fella!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paint Baller
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:09 am

I wonder how many of the "Don't tell me what to do" crowd support drug legalization or same sex marriage or the pro-choice movement.
I have a feeling many pick and choose which issue they want gov't to come down on...all the ones that don't affect them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ndnorth
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

As usual itś not for P.altans to be shy about accusing others of, well, not of doing something, but of being something like impolite, selfish...etc and of wanting somebody dead because of the 2/3 fires yearly on permitted days. The particulates of your barbacue coal (itś coal or a petrol derivative, whatever you call it commercially) penetrate everybody's air around you and has killed thousands of those who extract it. The CO2 your car emits ditto . I shop on mostly on foot and have a gas barbacue, so allow me to be a bit presumptuous.
The kill the fires brigade becomes a bit silly for the way they put it and because they themselves have large glass houses and shouldn t be throwing stones.
Let us clear the air about this topic.
You should stop emitting opinions about something you know nothing about.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Unearthly
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

There hasn't been a single spare the air (Web Link) day this winter so there's clearly a law in place for this. If someone breaks the rule you can report them at: Web Link.

I have a fairly efficient sealed wood burning insert with a blower which practically eliminates the common draft problem of traditional fireplaces. Keep your fire hot and use dry, well seasoned wood to reduce particulates. FYI, you can also put an EPA level II fireplace insert to reduce emissions and increase efficiency of your wood burning fireplace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dahlia
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

WOW with everything that has happened this week (shootings, car accidents, suicides, etc) you folks can still find something petty to complain about.......amazing.....I bet those folks in Con. wish they could complain about 'wood being burnt in the fireplace' instead of attending another funeral for another child
SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

This is almost shocking to read! Imagine: People might actually keep themselves and their families warm at the expense of someone else's dislike of the smell of burning wood!

Seriously: If you have a neighbor with a fireplace, you can always knock on his door and ask him to stop using it. If the man is NOT using it for warmth, then he might comply. If he uses it to keep his family warm, he will probably explain it to you.

I have a strong sensitivity to smoke. I hate cigarettes, cigars, strong perfumes or other similar things. I get a terrible headache from them. Yet, I have never smelled a fireplace from a distance and developed a headache or a nauseous feeling.

I agree with another poster: This is so incredibly petty. Some people will complain about ANYTHING.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by asthmatic old lady
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

Good grief! To be perfectly trite, GET A LIFE, GUYS!!! Karen, have you ever considered moving to another community? Somewhere with no trees?? Was it NorCalMom who reminded us that other towns often have problems more serious than ours? Towns in which residents don't whine endlessly about things that are truly less important than what just happened in Connecticut? Oh well, this being Palo Alto, I'm sure that after outlawing fire, our concerned citizens will push to outlaw firearms, cars (also major polluters), pets, industry, airplanes, etc. Is it becoming time for sensible people to move, or could we just outlaw complainers?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

Karen: Once upon a time, oak trees were much more prominent in this area. Few people are planting oaks in the last generation, in my experience, compared to many other trees being purchased.

The classic example, as cited above, is "Oakland" though the Peninsula had many great stands as well. Harvested for generations by the Ohlone on both sides of the bay, many were cut down in the 50's and 60's following the gold rush. By the 70's, the oak forests in the east bay and peninsula were devastated, to be finished off by development (with some talk of further degradation from industrial sources of the times, specifically 'ore dust' in Oakland, at the turn of the century.)

Oakland's original oaks: "The ranch included a stand of oak trees that stretched from the land that is today Oakland's downtown area to the adjacent part of Alameda... The Peraltas called the area encinal, a Spanish word that means "oak grove." "

Are you from out of the area, or did you just ignore your California history lessons in grade school?

To conflate heavy, untreated wood smoke to many of the other sources cited above (modern auto emissions through a catalytic converter, for example) or oak pollen, relative to asthmatics, is absurd.

Fortunately, asthma does not run in my family. For all the belligerents here that seek to "burn, baby, burn": good luck, and may continued good health wash across your descendents. Perhaps, if that doesn't happen, you may suddenly feel empathy for those afflicted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Living Life
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:56 am

Whenever anyone takes the time out of their busy day to simply tell others to "Get a life", well, its usually advice they should head themselves.
Complaining about the complainers...yes, darned complainers. Thanks for complaining about them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Nayeli: do you feel that asthmatics who have breathing difficulties just "smelled a fireplace from a distance and developed a headache or a nauseous feeling".

You are confusing your dislike of odors with asthma. fwiw, I also detest perfumes and similar objectionable smells, but obviously, neither of us have asthma.

Asthma - Bronchial asthma

Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lindsay Duncan
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Air polluted by wood burning fireplaces makes me ill. I can't walk outside at night, or open my windows for fresh air. Those who need the experience of "fine living" by burning wood in their fireplaces are selfish and apparently don't care about the environment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pro fireplace
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm

More over exaggerations- as if everyone was burning wood all the time and the air was so thick with dirty you cannot see! Are these the same people that never stop at stop signs? People have described the measures they take to reduce pollutants. We have spare the air days. Change the law if you are unhappy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hahaha
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

"Change the law if you are unhappy"

I laughed at this since the original topic title was asking for just that!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Don't you all find it strange that while the ## of burning fireplaces decreased (I forgot since what year no new fireplaces can be built) cases of astma increased?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Think About It asked how we might measure the air quality so we can objectively quantify how bad the problem is, especially during winter nights when more people are burning wood in their fireplaces.
I found this link to a measure called the Air Quality Index, or AQI at: Web Link

The nearest AQI monitoring station to Palo Alto is in Redwood City, which today is measuring an AQI of 45. 0 to 50 is considered good so today is a good day to go outside & run, bike, walks, etc.. The largest contributor to this AQI measure is small particulate matter, which may be from wood fires or pollens - it doesn't really say. Web Link
This compares to an AQI in Portland of 50, which is just barely in the good range. Web Link
It would be useful to continue this discussion after a high-pressure system plants itself over the Bay Area and we can measure the change in AQI in response to the various sources of pollution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Remember
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm

member,it is interesting, but then you have to remember, the smoke is not causing asthma, its creating breathing issues for people with asthma.
Sort of like how vinegar doesn't create skin cuts, but it irritates a skin cut.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Here's a link to CA Air Resources Board guide on woodstoves: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

@Lindsay

First, Merry Christmas, I hope you're enjoying the holidays.

Next time you move to a new city, you might want to check to see if the houses have chimneys, eh? In the meantime, would it be too much to ask you to add an "In my opinion" to your unilateral judgements? Seriously, though, don't you find it a stretch to *think*, let alone give voice to the idea that all wood fires are bad and impolite? There's hardly a majority that shares your view, either here or elsewhere; if there were one would think those people would *engage in the democratic process* and turn their wish into laws further than the current Spare The Air regulations.

No ill will - I do like engaging with my fellow Palo Altans in debate, and fully appreciate the general environmental direction most people take. I just think it's gone WAY, WAY, WAY, too far, as has the invasiveness of one neighbor's views into other neighbors' pursuit of happiness.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Chris -
Have you considered getting one of the EPA certified wood burning stoves? Or perhaps you already have one. They use a catalytic converter or a series of baffles to more efficiently burn the combustible gasses that otherwise become smoke that pollutes the neighborhood.
Myself, I converted my two fireplaces to gas. One is an insert that provides heat for the whole house. The other is a cheap set of concrete logs that are mostly for looks, though it does contribute to heating the house after a short while. Both provide the "warm, glowing fireplace" feel that you mention in your first post.
I had a pellet stove before converting to gas but got tired of cleaning the soot off the glass and vacuuming the ash out every week or so. Not to mention the cost and labor in keeping it stocked with 40# bags of pellets.
Having tried gas inserts, I'd never go back to pellets, let alone burning logs, though I certainly understand your emotional attachment to a wood fire. On a cold or rainy day there's nothing quite like a roaring fire to warm both bones and spirits. These days, I get the roaring fire from the gas insert with none of the drawbacks of wood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by moo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Lindsay Duncan --
and
arborist --

Thank you for your common sense remarks. I do not understand why some of the people posting are so self-centered. It's really a shame.

Seriously, I cannot walk an area 6 or 8 blocks square to knock on "a man's" door to ask "him" not to burn wood in "his" fireplace. (Why so gender-specific? I find that amusing.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Steve, thanks for the info on the AQI station. Lots of information there. I wonder if the sensitive group posters on this thread could make note of the index level that causes them trouble. I plan to monitor it at the times people are likely to have wood fires burning.

I also wonder if there is a way to check neighborhood air quality--if there are inexpensive meters, for example.

If I used my fireplace more often, I'd certainly consider converting it to gas.

I appreciate the reasoned tone you use--it beats threats to paintball people's chimneys and accusations of greed, selfishness, and heaven knows what else by a mile.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Some posters have a famed " hockey stick" fable/fake stuck up close to their back pocket

In fact-

Research shows that kids brought up in extra clean environments

1/no wood fires

2/no dogs or farm animals

3/no playing in dirt and soil in which there is dog or animal waste

Are very much more likely to develop asthma and much more serious forms of it.

However, Cats that are allowed to go outside are a very serious health hazard to pregnant women, children and otters.

Humans and animals have lived with wood fires and wood smoke for 100s of thousands of years.

The main dangerous pollutants in Palo Alto come from China-heavy metal residue in our air and imported food-lead, mercury, cadmium etc

The manufacturers of electric vehicles and the Prius etc are major sources of cadmium, mercury, lead and volatile carcinogenic pollutants

When are we going to ban electric cars in Palo Alto?

When are we going to ban outdoor cats in Palo Alto?

When are we going to ban Chinese products and food in Palo Alto?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Sharon: we've seen the studies about how exposure to outdoor dogs and cats and how they can lead to a stronger immune system. I challenge you to show how that effects asthma, or how "playing in dirt and soil in which there is dog or animal waste" was part of that or ANY study.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO SHOW STUDIES that say kids benefit from being raised around wood smoke.

I also challenge you to prove this statement: "The manufacturers of electric vehicles and the Prius etc are major sources of cadmium, mercury, lead and volatile carcinogenic pollutants"

I also challenge you to prove this one: "The main dangerous pollutants in Palo Alto come from China"

Let's make it easier: just substantiate with links ALL your **absurdly ridiculous** claims!

They indeed meet the criteria of your own opening sentence: "a famed " hockey stick" fable/fake stuck up close to their back pocket"






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Sharon, watch out, you say too much stuff that makes too much sense and our overly vigilant neighbors will be forced to banish you to Siberia, or they may blow a this-does-not-compute-with-my-pristine-but-purely-imaginary-eco-worldview gasket. I love it, though, makes me feel like there's still some of what Palo Alto was before it went bonkers.

Steve - I have a gas fireplace in which I burn wood (started by gas fire); I rent, but will ask the landlord if he'll fund some PM-reducing measure. Thanks for the suggestion.

Moo - sticks & stones, but if you think it's self-centered to use a wood-burning fireplace to have wood fires in the dead of winter, in a way that breaks no law & supports my good family life, I'd just assume you continue your elliptical orbit away from the sun.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CaresAboutHealth
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Humans lived with smallpox and polio and cholera for thousands of years. That doesn't mean we should continue to live with them.

The volatile carcinogenic pollutants you talk about are called PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Only a tiny proportion come from electric cars. Burning wood is the largest single source - worse even than burning tobacco. Using a wood fire for an hour produces more toxic chemicals than in the smoke from a quarter of a million cigarettes.

The idea that you should ban electric cars because they produce a tiny amount of pollution is like saying you should ban roller skates because they might injury the odd road user, while doing nothing to regulate speeding trucks that do 90 miles per hour in a 30 zone!

Start with the big polluters first, before worrying about the teensy weensy ones.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

"Sharon, watch out, you say too much stuff that makes too much sense"

Chris: Bull. Sharon makes ZERO sense. I CHALLENGE YOU to prove her absurd statements, such as

- SHOW STUDIES that say kids benefit from being raised around wood smoke

- prove this statement: "The manufacturers of electric vehicles and the Prius etc are major sources of cadmium, mercury, lead and volatile carcinogenic pollutants"

- "The main dangerous pollutants in Palo Alto come from China"

You think that makes sense?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Louis
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

What is the problem with this wonderful world that we live in?, always someone unhappy about something, now is wood fireplaces burning, this are the same people who probably don't like to say
" MERRY CHRISTMAS"

Palo Alto real state tax payers are paying the taxes,they have the right to enjoy a glass of wine in front of the fire place.

What next, don't breath to much air? Please get a life or should I say wake up and smell the Coffee!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by moo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Another Scarler Letter in Barron Park --

Great idea!

We could have some serious fun if we went out with my laser-sighted paintball slingshot. It would be more sporting than using a paintball gun.

Would you prefer yellow or pink paintballs?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

@Moo - violence is not the answer. I say we have a public debate, ideally around a big ole bonfire.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm



All earth creature have evolved to survive wood smoke over many millions of years-

in America natural forest and grass fires produce a trillion times as much smoke in one year as all domestic have and will ever produce.

The major vector for Toxoplasmosis is domestic cats-Toxoplasmosis kills pregnant women, otters, children and HIV/AIDS victims every day
Web Link

it is also a major factor in schizophrenia and other mental illness-according to the CDC

Dogs do not vector the disease.

China is -in fact - the major source of mercury and cadmium pollution in California

cadmium and mercury are major carcinogens and neuro toxic elements

they are also components of computers and electric cars-the lethal battery and computer components are produced in China and put in the air-recycled components are sent back to China and salvaged or burnt -

Even the "hockey stick" constipated EPA proves that the major source of cadmium, lead and mercury in California air and food is from China

It is what it is


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Chris -
If you already have a gas line to your fireplace you're 80% of the way to a gas fireplace. The main cost for me was running gas lines to my two fireplaces. For $100 you can get a concrete log set from Orchard, hook it up yourself and be sitting in front of a roaring (gas) fire that evening.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carrie
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I head over the hill to Half Mooon Bay when the air is filled with fireplaces burning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

You guys need to chill. There are plenty of carcinogens that leach out of the Earth's crust and the tailpipes of cars to worry about. A good old fireplace on the other hand, is welcome regardless of what may be released into the air. Aromatic hydrocarbons included.

On top of cars and radon, there's also black mold, wood preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, heavy metals, dioxins, and BPA to worry about (just to name a few) ban these first before you take away my right to light my damn fireplace.

Tonight, I'll be burning twice the wood in mine to spite all the narrowminded denizens that vex even the supposedly well-educated neighborhoods of Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Another crazy letter-writing night in Palo Alto. Somewhat entertaining, since there isn't much on TV.

Particulates lovers: Since no one lights those cozy fires in the summer, I guess you could run behind a bus to keep your lungs in shape.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Louis
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Fire place is burning at full force, I hope you are enjoying the natural wood burning smoke. Smoke is on me Boy/girls...Lol


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Seriously: This has to be one of the strangest message boards in Palo Alto over the last few years! I guess that it might help to remind people that the wood that is burning is "organic" and that the carbon that is released is "organic" too.

Asthma? I suspect that there is much more cause for concern from automobiles, motorcycles, trains and even hybrids than the occasional wood-burning fire. Of course, I suspect that some residents would like to outlaw the internal combustion engine too (as long as it starts with everyone else).

These are strange times we live in.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 1:20 am

> wood that is burning is "organic" and that the carbon that is released is "organic" too.

So what ?

> I suspect ....

Yeah ?

> These are strange times we live in.

and a strange post, what does organic have to do with anything?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Selfish
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:46 am

The selfishness of the average Palo Alto resident is on full display here. people talking about their asthmatic children and how the smoke makes it difficult for them to even draw a breath, and on the other side, a we have selfish "Me first-ers" like Louis who will build a fire out of spite and laugh about it. Sick (non) community that Palo Alto.
Ego and spite above all else I guess.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Can't Hide Now
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 20, 2012 at 7:02 am

Fascinating. I just realized that some of the people trying to disregard and minimize the diagnosed breathing problems of some of the town's children, are some of the people who cited worries about how a cannabis dispensary would affect children. If you are worried about how community actions are affecting children, then you should be fighting to protect them, not suffocate them. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

OMG, Palo Alto, the new nanny state. Why don't you outlaw poor people living withn city limits too. Oh wait, you already have. There's nothing wrong with using your fireplace. What IS annoying is when people don't get their chimney's checked for leaks. My neighbors frequently burned fires all summer long, and before we knew they were doing that, we actually called the fire dept. because there was actual smoke in our house across the street. Weird though, now that it IS cold, they haven't used their fireplace!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

Sharon: the one link you provided wasn't about ASTHMA. Why on EARTH would you bring Toxoplasmosis into the conversation????
Chris: You have yet to answer the challenge, unless your answer was part of your (post removed) post.

to repeat:

"Sharon, watch out, you say too much stuff that makes too much sense"

Chris: Bull. Sharon makes ZERO sense. I CHALLENGE YOU to prove her absurd statements, such as

- SHOW STUDIES that say kids benefit from being raised around wood smoke

- prove this statement: "The manufacturers of electric vehicles and the Prius etc are major sources of cadmium, mercury, lead and volatile carcinogenic pollutants"

- "The main dangerous pollutants in Palo Alto come from China"

You think that makes sense?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BanIt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

This conversation is burning longer than a duraflame log!

Ok, wood burning - specifically wood - puts fine particles in the air which can damage and raise the cancer risk to any person's lungs. EVERYONE, not just people with asthma, is at risk. (I put links in my earlier posts)

"Nanny state" - why must this be the catch-all counter-argument to every new law or regulation proposed? Nanny laws are naggy laws that remind us to do things that we should already be doing by OURSELVES for the benefit of OURSELVES - like wearing bike helmets and not buying Big Gulp sodas.

Some of us are concerned about a dangerous form of air pollution (directly caused by other people) that is highly controllable. I don't burn wood but I am exposed to the embers of others who burn wood. Sure I can roam around my neighborhood and trace every puff of smoke back to its source, then go have a talk with that person. From likes of this discourse, I can predict that won't resolve anything. Why should I have to do all that to put a stop to cancer - causing particles from infecting the air I breathe?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

Ban fireplaces? That is unbelievably ridiculous! It would be laughable if some of you weren't so dreadfully serious about it.

I am interested in seeing all of the "evidence" about fires in Palo Alto affecting the "asthma" of residents here -- especially significantly more than cars, motorcycles, trains, pet dander, plant and tree allergens, and every other thing in society. My husband is asthmatic yet told me that he enjoys the smell of occasional wood-burning fires, barbecues, etc...

Like I said, if someone lighting a fire in their fireplace to warm themselves and their families truly bothers you, give them a call or knock on their door. While they might not cater to your complaints, they might offer you a "head's up" whenever they plan on lighting a fire. That way, you can plan around it instead of trying to force everyone to cater to your "needs."

I do think that this is indicting of a greater problem. Do we REALLY need a law that bans something that happens in EVERY country, city and town? Are we so selfish and egotistical that we want to impose our views upon all of society?

I was reading an article about the people who are fearful of the impending end of the Mayan calendar. I think that those people shouldn't worry about an "apocalypse" relating to Mayan dates or prophesies. Our society is doing an interesting job destroying itself from the inside out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

To follow up on my previous post about decrease of the 33 of fireplaces and increase of asthma cases. Response is very illuminating. Very Tea Party:hysterical. You are not interested in informed discussion. Yea, all these cars, leave blowers, coal burning plants etc.
See the elephant?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

33 fireplaces was typo. Should read simply "fireplaces"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:00 am

Fireplaces? Really? Twenty kids just got gunned down in Connecticut and all you can talk about is fires, fireplaces and unhealthy smoke. So typical of Palo Alto residents. What about banning assault rifles instead of fireplaces. I can't remember the last time a fireplace took so many lives at once. Get real everyone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arborist
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

"What about banning assault rifles instead of fireplaces."

Those threads get locked down asap. Try and start one up, whether defending the ability to own assault style weapons, or decrying the carnage they do. This is a nice safe topic, so the editors leave it open.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

The ban-wood-fires-crowd is long on accusations of selfishness and vague claims of the harm such fires do. We already have a more thoughtful response on the books: On bad air days, ban fires. If this is not enough, the advocates of more action, need to prove their case.
Anyone can say that a wood fire causes them problems, but that's not adequate evidence. These quoted studies may apply to Palo Alto and its level of smoke pollution and they may not.

It would be good use the established levels of danger by the air quality index as a starting point and chart how often air quality in Palo Alto reaches these levels. Are there neighborhoods where the problem is pretty severe? Are there other ways to reduce this pollution? How do we help the people who are particularly vulnerable to such pollution?

Somewhere between things as they are and a complete ban there is probably an area where some changes can be justified.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

@ Think About It: Exactly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by local mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thank you, "feeding the troll", you speak for me.

Can people please stop saying ignorant things about asthma and lung disease? If you want to hurt your neighbor to give yourself a warm fuzzy, at least please stop saying ignorant and false things to make yourself feel better. It's not like there aren't a million other things you can do to create a nice atmosphere for your family that don't involve making some other person's child in your neighborhood struggle for breath or maybe have to visit the ER.

How about starting with what the American Lung Association says about wood smoke pollution?
"American Lung Association Says Wood Smoke Pollution Hazardous to Health

As cooler temperatures begin to mark the beginning of fall, the American Lung Association of California is urging the public to avoid wood burning and to consider cleaner burning alternatives. Burning wood emits harmful toxins and fine particles in the air that can worsen breathing problems and lead to heart and lung disease and even early death.
"Breathing particle pollution – or soot – can literally shorten life and send our most vulnerable residents to the emergency room. Study after study shows that when particle pollution levels increase, people can die," said David Pepper, MD, a volunteer of the American Lung Association in California.

Wood smoke poses a special threat to people with asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and should be actively avoided by those with lung disease. The American Lung Association strongly recommends using cleaner, less toxic sources of heat, such as natural gas. Converting a wood-burning fireplace or stove to use either natural gas or propane will eliminate exposure to the dangerous toxins wood burning generates including dioxin, arsenic and formaldehyde.

Wood smoke is the largest source of wintertime particle pollution in the Bay Area. Numerous studies have linked wood smoke exposure with exacerbation of lung disease. In the greater Bay Area, nearly one million residents have lung disease. "When they breathe wood smoke, they suffer even more," said Dr. Pepper.

As with any pollution, children are especially at risk. Their lungs do not fully form until the age of 18 and cumulative exposures of wood smoke can lead to reduced lung function and risk of future disease. For asthmatic children, breathing wood smoke can lead to immediate harm, including asthma attacks and respiratory distress."

Read the rest online:
Web Link

(Sorry, I can't help but interject -- what a great name for a physician... Dr. Pepper...)

Peace on Earth everyone, and in Palo Alto, too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Nor Cal Mom you made my day...

"Do you realize that in other towns people grow weed in their backyard, park multiple cars on the lawn, let their dogs poop anywhere, burn trash, throw parties without handing out flyers to warn you of the noise, ride bikes without helmets, smoke cigarettes while walking in the street, leave cars parked on the street for months, leave their Christmas lights up all year long, rent out their garage to college kids, and so on? Lower your expectations of one another."

This needs to be put to rap lyrics! (BTW I have a medical marijuana license and grow weed legally in my backyard here in Palo Alto)

Yo my Palo Alto homies
you complain about more needed zonies
But move up to Gridley
If you have the cajones
Pot growing in the yards
Cuz they all got their cards
Dogs pooping on lawns
You neighbors all ex cons

and so on


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

OK OK .... you can use your fireplaces ... but only to burn your assault rifles!

Seriously, we used to have nice fires when I was a kid, but the city is not the place for fires anymore. If you want a fire, get a gas burning system and stop talking about reacting to the left wing looneys by burning even more wood.

It's rude and unhealthy, so no wonder Republicans and Conservative types go nuts over it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm

And why should it have to be a documented health danger for people not to want to keep their neighborhood environment safe and clean?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

If a fire means enough to you, move to the country or get an gas fireplace - just trying to have fun aggravating people is so typically Conservative [portion removed by Palo Alto Online].


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gross
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm

WELCOME TO PALO ALTO!!! There's a reason people have begun choosing Los Altos or Mtn View over PA as places to raise their families.
PA is simply a bunch or selfish mercenaries out for themselves. So ugly, and we see it every day right here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I'm right leaning, but in all due respect nobody wants to breathe in the carbon crap belching out of everyone's fireplaces. When biking home at night this time of year, I've had to resort to going through industrial neighborhoods because the smoke makes places like crescent park and Menlo oaks unbearable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

@ Anon:

YOU are complaining that Conservatives and Republicans are "nuts?"

That is pretty funny! You should read your own posts some time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

If "health" is your motive to BAN wood-burning fireplaces, then why not extend it to ALCOHOL?

After all, there are many more alcohol-related deaths and repercussions than those related to fireplaces. Alcohol particularly affects minors and young adults with a death rate higher than most illnesses. Approximately 75,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related deaths. That number dwarfs the number of deaths from firearms (~11,000)

Web Link

So, should ALCOHOL be banned by Palo Alto or other communities?

Oh wait.

America already tried that. It was called PROHIBITION. It didn't work. People felt that it infringed upon the rights of Americans even though it had measurable negative consequences on others.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Louis
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Ok, more complains = more firewood in the fireplace.
Wait till tonight... I just purchase 2 cores of wood for the ones who are complaining.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by .........
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

too much smoke!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Anon, of course you need to have documented health dangers before you start banning activities people have been doing since the beginning of civilization. And it may be that the American Lung Association has compiled that evidence. But just realize that an advocacy group like that can't bring in the bucks if they don't make splashy recommendations that may or may not be justified by the studies they cite. So their recommendations need to be examined before cities start changing laws.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Maybe we should ban planting flowers, trees and pets from Palo Alto too. After all, they are bad for all of the allergy sufferers. I myself suffer from them.

Well, I guess that isn't a good idea. That would be selfish of me to impose my needs and the needs of allegy sufferers on everyone else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2012 at 12:19 am

@Jerry,

Wrap your idea in the "green" agenda, and you will be able to do it.

At least in Palo Alto ;)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2012 at 1:14 am

@Jerry --

What grows when you "plant pets"? A dander tree?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Never PA4 Me
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:02 am

Everyone else is selfish. I'm fine. Outta my way. Why should I do ANYTHING for anyone else. You're all so selfish. ME First!
-Typical Palo Alto Resident


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't bother me with facts
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:56 am

My mind is made up, and no amount of facts or proven scientific data will suede me. Facts be damned, I have an opinion and I know it all.
If someone points out the proven scientific data collected showing the marked increase in particulates, I will immediately condemn it as "junk science" because, how can my opinion be wrong?!?!

Its so ridiculous that someone can think that science might know more that I do about anything. I have an opinion and my mind will never be changed, regardless of actual acts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

Don't bother (and other screen names that you use):

I don't think that anyone is calling someone's (possibly your) citation about a "marked increase in particulates" as "junk science." Perhaps your anger has caused you to "read between the lines" of what people are actually saying.

I think that residents are simply saying that there are MANY things that cause increases in "particulates" that no one is pushing to make illegal.

Should Palo Alto residents be forced to comply to yet another new ordinance and prohibition of wood-burning fires in approved fireplaces in order to comply with your concerns about asthma problems for some residents?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

Funny how we have banned new fireplaces, and people use the ones they still have only occasionally, but all we can talk about is banning fireplace burning.

Funny how we already have spare the air days to limit harmful burning, but that's not enough; let's ban it on the good days too.

Funny how cars spew out huge amounts of harmful chemicals every hour of every day, but all we focus on is banning fireplace burning.

Funny how oil companies and manufacturing companies and chemical companies spew out all sorts of harmful substances into the air and water, and all we can talk about is banning fireplace burning.

Funny how we don't realize that there's a difference between doing studies and drawing conclusions about the significance of those studies; there's only one possible conclusion: ban fireplace burning.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wendy
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by never trust science
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:11 am

Posters that don't trust the science on asthma and wood smoke are the same loons that don't trust 98% of the scientists on global warming.

Flat earthers that need to burn wood without getting an insert that would help their fellow man.

Not to mention themselves and children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

It's amazing that humankind has managed to survive while using fire quite freely for the past million years or so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

Some [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] posters on this thread don't seem to realize that their focus on fireplace burning plays right into the hands of the serious and dangerous polluters in our society, who are very happy to have potential critics focusing their anger on their peers, rather than on the real culprits.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wendy
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

My Dad died a grim death 6 years ago from emphysema, having had one lung removed years before due to tuberculosis he'd acquired as a child. The doctors attributed his lung problems to growing up on a farm where they burned kerosene for light and wood for heat cooking. He said he always loved the smell of wood fires even though, in the end, it took him from us before his time.
Mankind may have survived for a million years while burning wood but lots of people have died younger than they should have because of it. If we have an opportunity to save or extend our own lives and those of our children and neighbors, why not do it? After all, there are alternatives to wood fireplaces that eliminate the health problems and still provide the roaring fire we all appreciate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Very sorry for your loss, Steve. My mom, who made the decision to have her family grow up in Palo Alto, also suffered from TB as a child, including having half of one lung removed. It definitely cost her many years of her life when other medical conditions & situations came up later that were harder to fight b/c of low lung-power.

I wouldn't dare speak for my mom, but I do feel as though, all things considered, she probably likes seeing her son & her grandchildren enjoying the occasional wood fire and bonding around the ritual of starting, tending to and zoning out together while looking at the fire, the embers, and the scene overall.

I propose we stop the thread now, consider it done, and lessons learned on both sides.

We the fire burners should burn a little less, and those against should live and let a little more live. My $0.02, anyways.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't bother me with facts
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Nayeli, so very telling that you felt I was speaking to you. You're so wise about so very many things.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Steve, you've been a thoughtful contributor to this thread. I'm sorry for the premature loss of your father.