Municipality advises good wood burning practices during cold spell
A strong temperature inversion associated with the on-going cold spell in Southcentral Alaska,
combined with an increase in wood heating, have resulted in elevated levels of wood smoke in many
Although levels are not currently high enough to warrant an air quality advisory, concentrations of fine
particulate, called PM-2.5, approached the federal standard on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause
burning eyes, runny nose and health problems such as bronchitis.
Citizens using a fireplace or woodstove should burn wood that has been split and seasoned for at
least six months and stored in a woodshed or other dry location. Wood stoves also should be in good
working order and, if equipped with a catalyst, it should be used. The stove will supply heat that is
more efficient and the amount of pollution it produces will be reduced. To prevent chimney fires,
chimneys and stoves should be inspected for creosote build-up, and cleaned if necessary.
Air quality updates can be obtained by calling the Municipal Department of Health and Human
Services Air Quality Hotline at 343-4899 or at www.anchorageair.info.
Information about the safe use of wood-burning appliances is also available at www.epa.gov/burnwise.
Posted: January 17, 2012