Wood smoke triggers Montreal smog alert

Jan. 13, 2009 at 11:26 AM
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MONTREAL, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The centuries-old French-Canadian city of Montreal is asking residents to stop using fireplaces and wood stoves after the second smog alert this winter.

City records indicate there were 50,550 wood-burning facilities in the mainland city of Montreal, and 85,241 if communities on Montreal Island are included, The Gazette reported Tuesday.

City spokesman Alan DeSousa told the newspaper last weekend was the worst for air pollution in and around the city.

The Environment Canada agency said there wasn't enough wind to move the smoke away, It estimated 47 percent of the fine particulate airborne matter in Quebec comes from fireplaces and wood stoves.

The island boroughs of St. Laurent and St. Leonard have enacted laws that forbid people building new homes from installing any wood-burning facilities, while Hampstead councilors decided in November to ban the use of all wood stoves by 2015, the report said.

In 1998, a devastating ice storm hit Quebec and left tens of thousands without electricity or heat, and a boom was reported in wood stove sales and fireplace additions, the newspaper said.

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