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Controlled burns, not woodstoves, polluting air

Herald and News letter to the editor by Steve Emley, Klamath Falls 11/8/11

They said I needed to buy a new woodstove to heat my home. I bought a certified woodstove so I could heat with wood even on “red” days. But now the rules have changed and I have to buy a pellet stove to be able to heat on “red” days. Every day I have to make a phone call and be told by a recorded message if I can use my woodstove! OK, I follow the rules so I don’t use beetle-killed downed trees for fuel but instead heat my home with expensive natural gas piped in from another state.

But why do we have “red” days when it is clear and sunny? You never hear about the major contributors to woodsmoke particulates in our area. They are not our dinky woodstoves, but the Bureau of Land Management and national forests who are both conducting controlled burns outside the Klamath Basin.

These controlled burns are not little campfires, but some are huge forest fires with smoke rising to 14,000 feet drifting downwind for 50 miles and more.

Take a flight or a drive outside town and you will see how much acreage is being burned in our forests. How much smoke do woodstoves contribute compared with acres and acres of burning forest?

Now they want to put a biomass plant near Keno that only adds to the problem. The irony is this: If they opened up our forests to common-sense woodcutting, people would do most of the cleanup and the controlled burns would turn into heated homes. Send the fireplace police into the forest to show people where to gather firewood and scatter the slash to promote future forest growth.

Should you adjust to the senseless changes or vote to elect people who choose common sense?

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