LETTER: Burning decision wrong-headed

From reader Brian Zacharias

We are all going through trying times these days. We don’t know how long COVID-19 will last, how many people will be afflicted, or how many will die. We are adjusting to social distancing and coping with the considerable general anxiety. Two headlines in the April 9 Nelson Star loaded me up with even more anxiety.

The first was: “RDCK will only take essential garbage during pandemic.” Every spring many of us are used to hauling combustible hedge trimmings, tree branches, and other ignitables to the dump. This is a very necessary spring ritual to reduce the risk of wildfire. I’ve just learned that RDCK reversed that decision and will now take yard waste. A very smart decision — what a relief! The city and regional district should be encouraging people to remove burnables from their yards, especially juniper bushes next to homes and other buildings.

Just because we have an above-normal snow pack and are having a late spring does not mean we will not have a severe fire season. We already have a wildfire in B.C. that is causing evacuation near Squamish. Any evacuation during the pandemic will add to the nightmare we are experiencing.

The second headline was: “Burning ban issued for Nelson area.” This decision should also be reversed. I’m sure I am not alone in my spring plans to burn hazardous piles of brush and some dead grass. Fine particulates in the Kootenay air will be much worse in a bad fire season and will put many more people at risk than if we are able to burn hazardous wood waste now.

This wrong-headed decision has been announced to us without any heads up that this was about to happen. This decision is unreasonable and unfair. It puts lives and property at risk and makes a bad situation worse. A controlled burn is much better than a burn that is out of control.

Brian Zacharias


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