I don't understand the Peninsula's "culture of burning." I suppose it could be called, "Screw your downwind neighbor." Fires are everywhere. Smoke is everywhere. Even driving from one end of the Peninsula to the other on a typical day has become a hazard to one's health - not only do we need to watch out for traffic, but for plumes of smoke ahead on the road. ("Roll the windows up quick!")

On a warm summer's day, I have to keep the windows in the house closed to keep smoke from entering.

I expressed my dislike of outdoor burning to one of my neighbors. His reply? "Well, it's legal." Yes, it is legal - as long as the smoke or ash from your fire doesn't impact your neighbors.

Ever hear of the Washington Clean Air Act? That's the law that states, "Your neighbors' right to clean air is more important than allowing you free disposal of vegetation by burning." How about ORCAA? (That's the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency.) They can levy fines for habitual offenders of the Clean Air Act.

Could your fire be a nuisance? According to ORCAA, "A fire is considered a nuisance if its smoke or ash interfere with the use and enjoyment of another person's property." Almost every day on my own property, I am impacted by such smoke and ash from the burning in the neighborhood. I'm not one of those people who like smoke - in fact it irritates my sensibilities and sinuses immensely. (Can you tell?) I'm sure there are more folks like me living full time on the Peninsula who feel the same way. Please think about your neighbors before you light a fire, whether recreational or burning the leaves and branches on your lawn before you mow. Both kinds of fires can be a nuisance and will be reported to ORCAA - at least in my neighborhood.

So please - don't burn - chip or shred, compost instead. Your plants and your neighbors will thank you for it.

Brian Bradley

Ocean Park

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