The fireplace is considered one of the most romantic places in the house, next to the bedroom. However, in Montreal, a major city in Quebec, Canada, the fireplace as well as wood-burning stoves would be banned by 2021.
Homeowners who have these features in their homes would have to make them permanently inoperable, removed or replaced with a fireplace that uses gas or a stove with EPA-approved pellets.
The looming ban, however, is not yet final although the Montreal Executive Committee passed the law which the city council ratified on June 18 with a vote of 45 to 1.
But a public consultation would be held in the later part of 2013 and a final vote on the issue would be held after the municipal elections in November.
The ban aims to improve air quality in Montreal, said Josee Duplessis, committee member responsible for parks and the environment. She pointed out that 41 of 49 bad-air days in the city in 2012 were during winter, and the city is laying the blame on soot from stoves and fireplaces.
Besides its impact on the environment, the soot is being blamed for its impact on the health of residents due to particulate matter pollution which penetrates the lung and causes or worsens respiratory ailments, pointed out Norman King, an epidemiologist at the Montreal Public Health Board's Urban Environment and Health Section.
To encourage Montreal residents to replace their wood-burning stoves with units that run on propane, natural gas, wood pellets or electricity, Quebec Province came up with the Feu-Vert programme in 2011 that provides residents a $900 subsidy if they would install a new stove. The subsidy offer ends on Dec 31, 2013.
Montreal has 85,000 homes within city limits that have fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.
There are a number famous movie clips that celebrate the romantic atmosphere created by the fireplace such as this one from the 1981 movie Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt.