I fully agree with your editorial on wood smoke (TNT, 12-18). If you review the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency emissions data on wood smoke, you will see that all of Tacoma meets the new “small particle” emission standards except for one small area around Fern Hill.
The CAA researched this problem for over a year and came to the conclusion that the residents in this low-income area could only afford to burn wood to heat their homes. No other area in Tacoma exceeded the new threshold, but the Fern Hill residents denied they were the problem.
The air in Tacoma’s North End, Northeast Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma meets the new standards, but the CAA decided to include all of Tacoma to make Fern Hill residents feel better, according to a staff member at one of the public hearings.
Lakewood was also included, I was told by CCA staff, because “cleaner air coming from Lakewood would allow (Fern Hill) more emissions before exceeding the threshhold.” The winter air in the rest of Tacoma does not pass over the Fern Hill area. Joint Base Lewis-McChord also meets the new standards but was excluded for “political” reasons.