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Writer: Authorities Should Ban Backyard Fire Pits

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Summer is a popular time to sit around the campfire, even if you’re not camping.

Backyard fire pits have become popular in the city and the suburbs, but they are not OK with everyone.

Carol Dina, a yoga instructor, wrote an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Monday saying that authorities should consider banning them.

Dina, who has asthma, finds the smoke difficult to deal with. She is asking that people in her neighborhood consider her health and that of others when lighting the backyard pit.

John Seltz, the supervisor of air policy for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that in recent years the number of people lighting fires in their backyard fire pits has risen considerably.

“It accounts for about a third of the fire emissions in the metropolitan area,” Seltz said.

He also said that the contents of the smoke emitted from those fires is similar that of tobacco smoke.

“There are carcinogens and irritants: things that shouldn’t be breathed on a long-term basis,” he said.

Seltz admits, however, that he does enjoy sitting by the fire. So he understands that many Minnesotans love their fire pits.

Transplanted New Yorker Jennifer Samuel in one of those fire-pit lovers.

“At night after we put the kids to bed, the neighbors often come down with a 6-pack and hang out, and sometimes we even barbecue during the day and the kids can roast marshmallows,” Samuel said.

She says her fire pit is something that brings her community together – a feat that is hard to accomplish these days.

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