More on burning issues

The following was a reply to a previous post that I overlooked, but I think warrants some discussion:

Submitted on 2015/01/30 at 4:58 pm

The problem is not just that people burn garbage but stinking, toxic smoke coming from improperly burned woodstoves is really everywhere on the island. People burn wet or not well seasoned fire wood and do not care. Even if you tell people that a lot of smoke is coming out of their chimney they don’t do anything about it.

Another toxic issue is open burning. People burn everthing from wet leaves to wet wood and who knows what else and nothing is being done about it. Open burning has been tolerated too long . You cannot do this in this day and age and say that you care about the environment.The only solution here is a total open burning ban, like in all civilized communities. I really think that we have to take drastic measures in order to get the message across.I think we need a combined effort between the fire department and IslandTrust to take action. I did not mention the RDN, because despite my emails to Howard Houle about this subject, he chose to ignore them.

The last time the subject of open burning was brought up was by the fire dept during a review of our bylaws a few years back. At that time their were some people who felt as you do, but the overwhelming majority indicated open burning – with controls- was acceptable. While this may qualify our island as somewhat uncivilized, it seems we are rather small potatoes, given the direction our country and the western world in general has taken regarding pollution of all kinds these last number of years.

Having said that, their are burning regulations in place on Gabriola that regulate open burning, if not home wood heaters, and they need to be followed in order to reduce the smoke impact. I agree that wet and unseasoned wood contributes the most to the problem, and the majority of that comes from home heating, not open burning.

Our duty officers will respond and to any open burning complaints and do our best to ensure proper procedures are being followed, but often we find a message on the answering machine after the fact, and the evidence has vanished into thin air. Sorry, bad pun.

Unless an open burn is an actual fire threat, the non emergency contact number should be used to inform the department, not  911. In that event everyone’s pagers will go off and the entire department and much equipment will be dispatched.

With regards to our RND rep, please don’t be too quick to dismiss him as ignoring you. Especially as I, in my blogging ineptitude, only discovered your January reply today, on March 5th.

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