Prediction: Minnesota is going to ban fireplaces

A fire pit and piles of wood stacked in the back yard of the OLink family remind Jamie and Marty of a time when they romanticized the smell of wood smoke. (MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza)

A fire pit and piles of wood stacked in the back yard of the O'Link family remind Jamie and Marty of a time when they romanticized the smell of wood smoke. (MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza)

You didn’t believe me.

In multiple posts and comments, I told you the smoking ban, alley-walking ban and txting ban were part of a slippery slope of government interference in our lives. This is how we lose freedoms, I claim, one step at a time.

MPR has a story about a person who got emphysema because of exposure to wood smoke. I heard a different version of the story on KTLK-FM this morning. I really feel for the lady. She never smoked and has a smoker’s disease. I am sympathetic.

The story says her neighbors have agreed *not* to heat their homes with wood this year. That’s super nice of them. The local authorities didn’t require the entire neighborhood to go smoke free or anything. The neighbors did the right thing for this special case. Kudos!

However, the MPR story shows a picture of a fire ring with the caption, “A fire pit and piles of wood stacked in the back yard of the O’Link family remind Jamie and Marty of a time when they romanticized the smell of wood smoke.”

WAIT a minute…that’s a leap from one person’s exposure to wood-heated homes to a fire ring outside, right? Well, I guess it is all smoke…so that means….Alarm bells are going off here. This connection, coupled with the anti-wood smoke news report skew I heard this morning, suggests “particulate matter in the air” from burning materials of any sort is the next target of the nanny state.

I’m going to make a prediction that soon our state’s consumer protectionism nazis will be at it again. Pretty soon using an outdoor stove, fire ring or using an indoor fireplace will be under attack. Maybe even charcoal grills!?!

“We didn’t know that the wood smoke was bad to inhale,” the public will cry. State Attorney Generals will sue the big box stores who sell patio fire rings. Weber Grills have to fund thousands to research a smokeless smoker. Cracker Barrel, the restaurant chain known for it’s expansive wood-burning fireplaces, will go out of business. Local campgrounds will face class-action suits from the last 10 years of campers who unknowingly exposed themselves to wood smoke while cooking their S’mores.

It’s only a matter of time before your home fireplace will be regulated down to gas-only. I hope I’m wrong, but I predict that burning wood, both indoors and out, will become the next scarlet letter of the nanny state police.

Put *that* in your pipe and smoke it.

3 Comments so far

  1. katlew on November 18th, 2008 @ 8:25 am

    In San Francisco we have spare the air days in the winter where do wood fireplace fires are allowed because of pollution. They don’t enforce it or anything, its more of an honor system thing


  2. David (jacc) on November 18th, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    I’ve also written about this one several times. Here’s my most recent thoughts,Can’t see the trees for the forest.

    Nanny state indeed.


  3. aliecat on November 18th, 2008 @ 11:45 am

    I think a ban on fire pits and wood burning stoves is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long while, and that’s counting the minor dust up a few years ago about the possibility of banning leaf blowers in Uptown.



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