RED alert: 'No visible smoke is allowed from a chimney at a residential home'

Chimney smoke - Cropped Photo: Bill Smith / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

EUGENE, Ore. - Do you burn wood for home heat?

Do you live in Eugene, Springfield or Oakridge?

Then you can have no visible smoke coming from your chimney from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Thursday - or face possible fines.

That's because the Lane Regional Air Protection Authority has issued a "RED" home wood heating advisory.

"During a RED advisory, no visible smoke is allowed from a chimney at a residential home. People are asked to use alternative heating devices," the air quality agency said Wednesday afternoon.

Any visible smoke from a chimney can result in a fine.

The agency said it recognizes many people rely on wood to heat their homes.

“Our number one priority is that people are safe. We want people to stay warm and encourage people to apply to economic exemptions if they can only afford wood heat,” said Jo Niehaus, LRAPA spokesperson. “Some people really rely on wood heat but they should be mindful that their smoke can cause health issues for their neighbors. We want people to burn extremely clean or use alternatives until the air quality improves.”

You can check for current restrictions by calling the Home Wood Heating Hotline at (541) 746-4328.

Air pollution from smoke has hit Moderate levels this week.

"Air pollution levels rose this week in the lower Willamette Valley with lots of burning activity and slight intrusions from the Northern California wildfires. Most of the smoke impacts have been local activity from home wood heating and outdoor burning," according to LRAPA. "Without good ventilation, the smoke has been lingering at the ground level and degrading air quality."

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