By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Smoke from some brush pile burning projects and other prescribed burns in the area settled into Prineville Wednesday night, leading to unhealthy air quality for a time this morning.
That smoke – coupled with the smoke from residents using their stoves to heat their homes often contributes to air quality problems during inversions.
“Prineville is a community that historically likes to burn. We like our wood stoves. It would be unpopular to remove them all and mandate no wood stoves,” said Joshua Smith, Prineville planning director. “So we just try to encourage them not to use them on those non-burn days and during those inversions. Use electric, use gas, use a pellet stove.”
The City of Prineville funds NeighborImpacts’ wood stove exchange program. The money helps homeowners swap old wood stoves with high efficiency, clean burning stoves.
“As many of those wood stoves that we can change out over time, that will have a measurable effect on air quality,” said Casey Kaiser, Prineville associate planner.
Thursday the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced it has developed a new, lower-cost air quality monitor system that will allow the agency to provide timely particulate pollution information at more locations around the state.
Already, eight of the devices, called SensOR, are placed in Bend, Brookings, Chiloquin, Coos Bay, Florence, Forest Grove, Northeast Portland and Redmond.