Smoke gets in your eyes…

August 26th, 2015

… and lungs and heart.  This map from via NPR shows the wide ranging impacts:

air-now-fb06a6f98396f8e729e882f7b01fadb932ca4d4d-s1500-c85See Smoke From Wildfires Threatens Health in the West from NPR yesterday.  Back when we had RED air quality warnings in Minnesota, a couple of months ago now, I was feeling it.  But the last week or so, I’ve been waking up totally stuffed, headache, and it takes about an hour and a half to get my schnozz cleared out.  We have no German Shepherds, and even though little one-coated Sadie does shed, and even though I nuzzled a cat day before yesterday, that’s not enough to cause this.  Could it be seasonal allergies, which are admittedly worse with age (OH MY DOG, no German Sheperds is bad enough, but just breathing?)?  I’m not convinced.  This headache and being stuffed up isn’t my typical response, which tends to be runny eyes, sandpaper nose and sniffles.  It’s got to be the fires.

Meanwhile, I know a few folks who live out there, and in addition to having to evacuate and be on alert, others with relatives heading out to fight the fires, there are more subtle affects, where it’s showing up unbidden in photography jobs, an added interference with chemo for cancer, and a hazard for COPDers.

Here’s the chart of emissions for the Midtown Burner, from Saying NO to Midtown Burner Permits prepared by Alan Muller based on the Midtown Burner proposed air permit for the roughly 38MW biomass plant that was to burn “clean” trees in a much smaller amount than these wildfires across the west:




So if these are the numbers for the small biomass burner, what are the emissions for these wildfires?  Is anyone doing testing in the plumes for what people are exposed to?  There’s the emissions as above of things like formaldehyde that come from “clean” trees, the tremendous Particulate Matter, but what about all the other things too that are burned in these fires, like plastics, tires, creosote and penta poles?  I’m not finding anything, and it seems this is something that should be done by the Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, etc., state environmental agencies.  There should be active warnings to people to wear masks outdoors, and indoors to filter the air.  We have a HEPA filter for every room, but we’re not normal.  The impacts of breathing this air will be felt immediately by some people, but there’s a high likelihood that impacts are cumulative and/or take time to develop.  Protection now is crucial.


It’s dark and hard to see… but the good news is clear — The Minneapolis 9th Ward Award for Neighborhood Project of the year went to all of us who worked against Kandiyohi’s Midtown Eco-Energy incinerator, or as I call it, the Midtown Eco-Crapper.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE…. the 2009 9th Ward Neighborhood Project of the Years is:

Stop the Midtown Burner

Each year, there are awards for Project of the Year, Leader of the Year, Youth Leader of the Year,  Block Club of the Year:


This year’s Award for Neighborhood Project went to “Stop the Midtown Burner” which was a project involving several groups and hundreds of individuals who all got together and made sure this project went down in flames 9as all burner projects should!).

Hearing of the Award, one instrumental fighter said:

After that meeting in the library [August, 2007], I thought it was late in the game, maybe too late, but people stepped up to the plate, worked through personal differences, and made it happen.

That’s something to celebrate…..

And another instrumental fighter said:

They did not know who they were messin’ with — HAH! SO THERE!

Here’s the Stop the Midtown Burner award: