Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Backyard Fires - a burning issue that's making you sick

note: for information about the nasty stuff that is in the 'cheery backyard fire' you or a neighbour might be having: www.burningissues.org. Below is a slightly amended version of the latest note I sent to Deputy Chief Kitterman of the London, Ont. Fire Department.

9:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 17/10

Good morning Deputy Chief Kitterman,

Would you please have someone from your staff see that the household at (address X) gets another copy of the outdoor burn regulations? This way, if they have another fire they'll get fined instead of just a warning.

On Saturday evening (late) and Sunday, I did not have the energy to sit at my computer to write this; it was too hot. And yesterday I was at work all day and then getting ready for guests. So, here's a note, a bit after the fact.

On Saturday around 10:00 p.m., after 20 minutes of walking around trying to figure out where the smoke was coming from, I found a backyard fire going at Address X.

From the cross street nearby, one can see that the firepit is a only a circle of bricks, and is less than 4 metres from the property line. The pit must be wider than regulation and there sure isn't the sort of encircling safe zone described in the bylaw. I think the guys burn anything at hand.

I think I've reported this address before. Unfortunately my record-keeping is lousy. One guy did hollar across that they'd 'moved it; this reinforced my recollection that I'd called about them before. I spoke to them from where I was standing on the cross street; they thought it was quite funny that I wanted the fire out and dumped a few glasses of water or something on the fire. I didn't call the fire department when I got home because - who knows? - by the time I got home they might actually have used the hose they said they had to put it out. But I bet they didn't. We just got stuck again with having to have all our windows closed in the heat.

There are probably backyard fires in our drift vicinity 4 times a week. Most of the time I can never find a source. I pick a direction and walk or bike around all the blocks.

To extend the issue of backyard fires ... from all the walking around I do, it is interesting to note the high percentage of houses that have all windows and doors closed. In the evenings a majority of people in this area continue to use air conditioning to cool their houses. So much fossil fuel used, which adds to the pollution burden we all suffer from in London, where the asthma rate is higher than the national average. I wonder how the people who live in these sealed houses miss the media articles about energy conservation. Given the package of environment issues locally and internationally, five years from now people will have to open their windows in the evenings. We are coming to a time when we cannot afford the financial or environmental costs of fuel waste.

Thanks for seeing the household at Address X gets outdoor burning regulations.

Best personal regards,

Why's Woman

No comments: