Hi friends! It’s finally December and that means cold weather is on its way. I love this time of year because I love to sit in front of my gas fireplace. By using a gas fireplace and not burning wood, my doghouse is warm and cozy and I don’t breathe bad air!
Smoke that comes from burning firewood is bad for my health—and it can be bad for you, too, especially if you’re a kid. Your lungs aren’t fully grown yet so you breathe in more air than adults and that means you breathe in more air pollution. Wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals that are in cigarettes and none of them are good for our health. It can cause us to get sick with illnesses that make us cough or hurt our throats and lungs.
There are some safe ways we can stay warm while protecting our health. Blankets, sweatshirts and yummy warm drinks like hot chocolate or apple cider are just a few options! If your family is like mine and loves to use a fireplace, see if you can switch to a gas fireplace instead of using a wood burning fireplace. That way you will still get to enjoy the fire without all that yucky smoke! The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District has a program that gives you money to change out a wood burning fireplace to something cleaner. Visit www.AirQuality.org/woodstove to find out about it.
If your family lives in Sacramento County, there’s a law called Check Before You Burn that helps protect all of us from breathing bad air in the winter. From November through February, you may not be able to burn wood in your fireplace or use your family’s backyard fire pit on certain days, so ask your mom or dad to check before lighting a fire. (If you have a gas fireplace, you can use it whenever you’d like!) You can see if it’s okay to burn by visiting www.AirQuality.org or asking your parent to download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app.
Have any questions about wood smoke or staying warm in the winter? Email me at email@example.com!