Wood stove, air quality challenges in Klamath Falls

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, March 11 2014 at 4:43 PM, Updated: Tue, March 11 2014 at 7:03 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. -- Klamath Falls failed to meet federal air quality standards in 2013.

It only takes three 'non-attainment' days in a year to make Klamath Falls 'non-compliant'...but Klamath County Air Quality Specialist Jim Carey notes that there were four non-attainment days in December alone...

"We didn't do so well in December."

Klamath Falls was in compliance in 2012, and not in compliance in 2013.

That means 2014 will be critical to meet a three-year average.

Carey notes that attainment could mean the easing of some restrictions...

"We just need to make it through October, November, and December of this year."

Carey says wood stove users are paying attention to the red, yellow, and green wood burning advisories, and Carey believes those advisories are helping to reduce pollution...

"Really, our compliance is great."

If the city fails to meet air quality standards this year, there could be more 'red' days...and possibly an outright ban on traditional fireplaces.

"You would not be able to burn fireplaces."  States Carey.  "Even on 'green' days."

And additional restrictions on commercial operations...which could jeopardize new development.

Those tighter restrictions could also have a big economic impact.  If industry and business fails to set up shop in Klamath Falls, the community would then lose out on jobs.

Klamath County will stop issuing daily burn advisories this Saturday, and resume those advisories in mid-October.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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