FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Mayor Karl Kassel says low compliance with restrictions on burning wood and coal is preventing the Fairbanks North Star Borough from hitting federal air standards.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Kassel said on Wednesday he’s planning a series of town hall meetings to educate residents on the community’s air.

The borough has called 16 burn bans so far this winter. Kassel says the air is improving, but the level of pollution is still far above federal standards aimed at protecting human health.

He says residents have been ignoring the ban because they have busy lives, but that it’s time they start to understand the severity.

Decades of scientific research has revealed a connection between the particular pollution the borough faces and various heart and lung illnesses.

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