Blowing Smoke vs. Clearing the Air: On Burn Bans

From San Francisco and Olympia, Washington, to Keene, New Hampshire, municipal governments have begun instating “burn bans” for its residents this winter, and to much ado. Citing air quality–specifically, the fine-particle pollution smoke can create–state governments are seeking to clear the air, literally, by restricting the use of wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, pellet stoves and wood stoves–most recently (and notably) on the days of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A recent New York Times article explores the exchange programs some cities are offering–a la Cash for Clunkers. For instance, in return for discarding older, wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, residents are awarded $1,000 towards the purchase of a newer, more energy-efficient model–one with considerably less particle pollution and lower emissions.

From California to New England, the residents’ mixed reactions about both the bans and exchange program are interesting; to learn more, check out “Where There’s Smoke…There’s a Trade-in” here.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

An energy-efficent wood-burning stove. Via NYT.
An energy-efficent wood-burning stove. Via NYT.