| Does your chimney
look like this...
are in use.
|...or like this?|
With the onset of colder weather, fireplace and woodstove usage increases dramatically in Lane County. This results in large quantities of particulate matter being released into the local air shed. Wood smoke contains over 200 chemicals and compound groups. These toxins cause a number of problems when inhaled. Although these chemicals may effect sensitive individuals first, they have a detrimental effect on all people.
Lane County has a home wood heating advisory program that lets people know when air quality is becoming unhealthy and informs them if burning is allowed. A person is in violation of the program if their home's chimney emits visible smoke during a "red" advisory. The program is mandatory in the Eugene/Springfield area and voluntary throughout the rest of the county. LRAPA understands that pollution has no boundaries and asks that all local residents abide by the advisory program.
The system uses a simple red, yellow, green system to indicate the daily advisory.
|A green advisory means air quality is good and burning is allowed.|
|A Yellow advisory indicates that air quality is deteriorating and burning is cautioned against.|
|A Red advisory indicates that air quality is poor and burning is prohibited.|
Are there exemptions to the program?
Low income exemptions are allowed for people who meet economic need guidelines. These exemptions allow qualified individual households to heat with wood-burning devices during periods of inadequate atmospheric ventilation and poor air quality. Exemptions are granted on a yearly basis to applicants who meet Oregon Housing and Community Services Department Poverty Guidelines. To apply for an exemption, download the application and mail to the address listed on the form. Page two of the application includes the poverty guideline income levels.
Where can I find the day's advisory?
- Check our Web site's home page.
- Call 541-746-HEAT (541-746-4328).
- Local TV weather reports
- The Register-Guard's weather page
How does LRAPA determine the day's advisory?
To determine the advisory, LRAPA considers current air pollution levels, weather forecasts and the Air Quality Index - a national index used for rating air quality. LRAPA uses the newer PM2.5 (particles 2.5 microns or smaller) standard in determining the daily advisory. This standard is more protective of human health than the older PM10 (particles 10 microns or smaller) standard.
Generally, when air quality nears the unhealthy range for sensitive groups of people, LRAPA calls a "YELLOW" advisory cautioning residents against burning. When air quality approaches the unhealthy range for the general population, LRAPA generally calls a "RED" advisory, requesting that burning in woodstoves and fireplaces is halted.
What is Particulate Pollution?
There are a number of significant sources of particulate matter which occur during the winter, such as industry, vehicles and wood burning smoke. State and local permitting requirements control the amount of particles emitted from industry, vehicles, and forest and agricultural practices, while local residential home heating programs control particulate emissions from wood stoves and fireplaces. All smoke contains particles that range in size from coarse and very fine. Health studies have determined that very fine particles are more detrimental to health than larger particles. For this reason, the federal government has established two particulate standards PM10 and PM2.5. The PM10 standard measures respirable particles less than 10 microns in size, while the PM2.5 standard measures respirable particles less than 2.5 microns in size. LRAPA uses the PM2.5 standard with it's advisory program to better protect the community from the negative impacts of smoke.
What are the health effects?
Exposure to particulate matter adversely affects the respiratory system. Particulates exacerbate bronchial ailments such as bronchitis and emphysema and can aggravate allergies and trigger asthma episodes. It is unhealthy for those with heart and lung disease as well as the very old, the very young and pregnant women.
What can I do to improve air quality?
- Burn ONLY dry seasoned wood.
- Burn hardwoods, such as oak, madrone and nut and fruit woods.
- Limit kindling to fir pine and cedar; never burn soft woods like cottonwood and poplar.
- Burn a small, hot fire.
- NEVER burn garbage or treated/painted wood.
- Leave your woodstove's damper open.
- Use alternative heat sources such as natural gas or electricity.
- Check your chimney for smoke. The more smoke the more pollution.
- Clean your chimney regularly.
|Species||Available Heat||Species||Available Heat|
|Cherry||25||Pine, Lodge pole||20|
|Elm, American||18||Pine, White||18|
|Fir, White||19||Walnut, Black/English||25|