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8/17/2017
Fairbanks residents get wood moisture notices

FAIRBANKS — Residents of Fairbanks and others in the Fairbanks North Star Borough buying firewood from commercial wood cutters are due to start receiving notices stating the wood’s moisture content.

Cindy Heil, of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, said it is a new state regulation going into effect Wednesday aimed at preventing people from burning wet wood.

Wood sellers also are required to register with the state if they do business in the parts of the borough where air quality worse than standards defined by the federal Clean Air Act. That zone includes the most populated portions of the borough.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposed the new regulations when it changed the smoke pollution classification for affected parts of the borough from “moderate” to “serious.”

Fairbanks and North Pole areas have excessively high levels of episodic particulate pollution, which has been shown in scientific studies to make people sick, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/2wPrlup ).

Heil said she hopes the new rules clear up miscommunication between wood buyers and wood sellers about what kind of wood is being purchased.

Under the new state regulation, wood sellers must make fresh cuts on three pieces of firewood per cord and record the moisture content on a one-page form.

Frozen wood is considered wet wood unless the moisture content was recorded as 20 percent or less before freezing.

A letter went out to wood sellers early this summer encouraging them to register by Wednesday “to avoid compliance and enforcement action.”

Wood sellers who do not register risk violation notices from the state conservation department and court action, Heil said.

It is illegal to burn wet wood in the borough under state and local regulations.