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The Comfort Zone

A Wood Burning Alternative Thanks to the Emerald Isle

According to PR Newswire, people in certain areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties are being advised not to burn wood or fire logs in indoor or outdoor fireplaces as part of a no-burn alert.

The area stretches from the north at Marina del Rey and to the south at Laguna Niguel, and goes east to Anaheim Hills. This is the first time that L.A. coastal areas and Orange County is on the list, said Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The alert is part of a 3-year-old Check Before You Burn program. Natural gas fireplaces are exempt.

A combination of diminishing Santa Ana winds and an anticipated layer of fog and a sea breeze has made the air stagnant in the area. Wood smoke, which contains thousands of pollutants, could make the air unhealthy for certain groups of people, Atwood said.

Residents do however have an alternative to burning wood courtesy of the Emerald Isle. Irish Peat, known by the Irish as “turf,” has been used for centuries abroad for heating homes, cooking food or just that fireside ambience. My in-laws who live on Achill Island, Ireland, still harvest and burn their own turf.  It’s a tradition abroad that’s now being recognized in cities throughout the US.  Harvested in the bogs of Ireland and imported here, peat is similar to the fire logs found in the U.S., except this condensed peat burns hotter, cleaner and longer.

I recently received a box of Irish Peat from Killofin Home, a business specializing in importing Irish peat that’s located in Los Angeles. I gave a few briquettes to my mom so she could have them burning when we arrived on Christmas day.  As soon as we got out of the car my husband said, “Do you smell that? Someone’s burning turf!” He was very surprised to find out it was my mom burning the turf. The aroma and warmth of the fire made for a very special Christmas day for our family and my husband felt like he was back home again.

A lot of HVAC businesses are starting to specialize in the installation and maintenance of fireplaces and stoves.  Informing customers on the benefits of burning Irish Peat may be a good selling point especially for contractors on the West Coast. Irish Peat has exceeded most environmentalists’ expectations by its very nature such as having no carcinogens or toxins and certified to have low sulphur content.

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