The comments and complaints regarding clean air have, once more, come to the fore. The issue has traditionally become a matter of the “right to farm” versus complaints about air quality; those who need to burn feel confronted when criticism occurs.
Mildew is one of the reasons that wood is not chipped. I cannot imagine that anyone would argue that failure to destroy mildew results in a serious economic impact. Therefore, burning becomes the only remedy. However, there are issues which fall outside the burning of mildewed wood waste.
The issues are very serious and relate to health effects caused primarily by slow, smoky fires and the burning of prohibited materials.
Some residents burn contaminated lumber in wood stoves and some farmers burn contaminated lumber in their outdoor piles. It is very easy to tell when this is happening; if you smell smoke that does not remind you of a good old family bonfire then what is being burned is illegal.
Both issues fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment and the RDOS; lack of enforcement and/or lack of bylaws results in people who are either unaware of the standards or just don’t care.
The RDOS seems ambivalent regarding enforcement of regulations which leads to annual contamination of the air we breathe in this valley.
Residents with serious breathing problems are obliged to suffer smoky, outdoor wood piles left to smoulder for days.
Fans are a solution and relatively inexpensive. Drum fans pushing 11,300 cubic feet per minute of air are capable of accelerating a fire while dramatically reducing smoke production.
These fans are available in the valley, so why not make their use mandatory?
Pat Hampson, Oliver