Natural But Deadly: Huge Gaps in US Rules For Wood-Stove Smoke Exposed

"The government spent millions subsidizing new wood heaters supposed to burn more cleanly. But an investigation has discovered critical flaws"

"Glenn Helkenn lives in a spruce forest, in a tiny log cabin he built himself on the outskirts of Fairbanks, Alaska’s third largest city.

Give him an hour and a handsaw and Helkenn says he can harvest enough firewood to heat his 96 sq ft home for a couple of days, even when the temperature drops to -40F. For him, it’s about more than free fuel.

“It is what I enjoy doing,” Helkenn said. “You know, it’s the fresh air. It’s the time out in the woods. It’s the snowshoeing. It’s the exercise.”

The trouble is about 12,000 much larger Fairbanks-area homes heat with wood too. The city is partially ringed by hills, so smoke can get trapped in low-lying neighborhoods for days or weeks.

Fairbanks has some of the dirtiest air in the country, in large part due to smoke from wood stoves."

Reported by Liz Ruskin for Alaska Public Media and Emily Holden for Floodlight March 16, 2021.

Source: Guardian, 03/17/2021