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Wood smoke rules draw fire

March 7, 2008 |  4:12 pm

Fireplace There are more than a million fireplaces in the naked city, and fewer days in which to use them. New rules passed by the South Coast AQMD limit when Angelenos can cozy up to a wood fire on those chilly 55-degree nights, Janet Wilson reports.

Our beloved hearths (that's a gas-burner on the right, btw) pump six tons of soot particles into the air each day, tiny, jagged molecules that nestle deep in our tender lung tissue and make us sick. But that's not enough to persuade some people to accept the ban.

Many see any kind of ban as a literal invasion of home and hearth. "You’re not gonna regulate my chimney," said Stewart Cumming of San Bernardino during a heated public hearing at the board meeting in Diamond Bar. He vowed to continue using his fireplace as he chose.

The regs are riddled with exemptions -- pizza restaurants, for instance, people who live above 3,000 feet, and those who rely on wood as their sole means of heating.

Which leads to the obvious question -- who's going to enforce this, and how?

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo - Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times