Posted: Thursday, Jan 28, 2010 – 09:30:21 am PST
PINEHURST — Another wintertime inversion has set over Pinehurst, bringing poor air quality with it.
Currently, excessive smoke from woodstoves is the largest contributor to poor air quality condition in the area.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality urges Pinehurst area residents who choose to burn wood to heat their homes to remember these simple guidelines to reduce smoke in your community.
n Burn the right materials. Only burn clean and dry wood, pellets, or manufactured logs. Do not burn trash, plastics or treated materials.
— Make sure your wood is dry. Dry wood creates hotter fires and less smoke.
— Burn smaller, hotter fires. When starting a fire, keep the damper and other air inlets open for 20 to 30 minutes. Establish a bed of coals before adding large logs.
— Allow enough air to ensure proper combustion. Avoid overloading your stove and avoid banking your stove at night as this will cause excessive smoke.
— Regularly inspect, maintain, and clean your woodstove and chimney.
— Watch your smoke signals! If you’re sending up a lot of smoke, chances are you’re burning inefficiently. Once established, a properly burning fire should give off only a thin wisp of white steam. If you see dark smoke, adjust your dampers or air inlets to let in more air.
— Use alternative sources of heat other than wood burning appliances until air quality improves.
Exposure to fine particulate matter is associated with several serious health effects including premature death. Breathing fine particles is bad for everyone, although it is most harmful to children, adults who are active outdoors, and people with respritory and cardiovascular diseases. Adverse health effects can occur with exposure to smoke over both short periods (such as a day) and longer periods (a year or more).
Everyone plays an important part of keeping the air clean. You can help by paying attention to local air quality advisories and refraining from “slash” burning when open burn bans are in effect and following a few simple “good burning” techniques guidelines.
To learn more about burn restrictions and air quality:
— Check the newspaper or tune in to your local radio or television station.
— log on to DEQ’s Daily Air Quality Reports Web page at www.deq.idaho.gov/air/aqindex.cfm
— Contact DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Regional Office at 769-1422