Emission Heavy Fireplaces Getting the Axe in California?

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The Butte County Air Quality Management District is currently considering the possibility of limiting the use of older wood stoves and fireplaces. The reason behind this is the fact that wood burning creates several harmful emissions including carbon monoxide that can be deadly when inhaled. Combining this with the smog created by internal combustion engines, can be very hazardous to the environment and can significantly increase the risk of cancer.

At present there is a voluntary program in the Butte County area called “Don’t Light Tonight” where residents with older fireplaces and wood burning stoves are encouraged not to use them on poor air quality days. If the proposed law were to happen, this voluntary program would become mandatory unless the fireplace was the sole source of heat in the house. Details of this story can be found in an article in California’s, Chico Enterprise Record.

When reading the article I couldn’t help but feel that the whole thing seemed a little backwards. Mankind has been lighting fires for countless millennia and it hasn’t ever been considered dangerous provided that the fire was controlled and there was plenty of ventilation. That isn’t what changed, what changed was the addition of cars, trucks, planes, utilities and so on. So shouldn’t the Air Quality Management District put their energies toward fixing that?

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