The smoke Gestapo in the San Francisco Bay Area beefed up its force and the new recruits are loaded for bear.
On November 19 the operation of a home fireplace became illegal, for the first time ever. That day was a "Spare the Air" day when a moderate level of pollution blanketed the area due to the windless condition that typically occurs in the late autumn and winter months. When a Spare the Air alert is issued residents are forbidden to burn wood in their fireplaces. Spare the Air days occur often in the late summer but those alerts carry no actual prohibitions. Residents are encouraged to use public transportation, avoid outdoor barbecuing and firing up internal combustion engines such as lawn mowers. If citizens choose to ignore those air alerts they are free to do so. Not so, however, with burning a fire in a fireplace. Enforcement is also no joke.
"We’re serious," said a smoke cop. "This is a major health threat. The weather conditions are such that smoke is trapped closer to the ground and anyone with respiratory problems will have a hard time breathing."
Seventy smoke police have been rounded up to flood the neighborhoods looking for wisps of smoke coiling above house roofs. The first offense results in a warning by mail. Subsequent violations can result in hefty fines of as much as $2,000. While the entire state of California, including Bay Area localities, face a bleak financial future taxpayers can take comfort that 70 smoke police, each making a very good salary, are charged with cracking down on a behavior that has been sanctified for centuries.
Fireplace manufacturers and retailers who sell the wood products that people burn, some of which have been processed so that very little smoke escapes, are complaining weakly about the "Spare the Air" financial hits they will take to their livelihoods. These producers will be ignored by the elite whose purpose in life is to crack down on the law abiding. Anyone fond of a crackling fire on a good winter night who complains will also be ignored. Elevated for sainthood will be the useful idiots and masochists who meet every curtailment of their personal freedom with sick cries for more punishment:
"Tim Regan of San Francisco said he had already gotten his education and wouldn’t be spending Wednesday night burning any of the firewood he was buying at the Safeway on Market Street for $18.
‘The environment has to trump comfort,’ Regan said. ‘I’m sentimental about these things. A fireplace is so romantic, the curl of the smoke rising up – it’s like Norman Rockwell. But I’m willing to make a concession to the planet’s health and survival.’
Way to go, Tim! You’re a credit to the dumbing down of the American people and the slide into passive cowardice that has transformed the home of the brave and the land of the free into a playpen of "citizens" who know exactly who is the boss.