Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

BURN BAN: Why have one if it’s not enforced?

Letter by Brian Cawley, Yelm on Feb. 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm with 16 Comments »
February 6, 2012 2:20 pm

After the ice storm that took out a lot of trees, there are many fires and the smoke hangs over the fields, trees and roads in my area southeast of Yelm.

After talking to several neighbors and informing them of the Thurston County burn ban, only two showed much interest. Bald Hill Fire Department was unmanned and not answering the phone.

The BHFD had asked for and had our community post a burn ban notice. The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) did not provide much information, except that a Stage 1 burn ban was in force. There was no way of informing or asking for assistance. No system of notifying people and fining those who don’t comply.

What is the point of having a burn ban if it is unenforceable, unenforced and people don’t care about their neighbors who clearly have breathing difficulties?

Why is ORCAA funded when it is clearly just a government department that is either unfunded or unmanned like our local firehouse (which comes running in an emergency, as they have demonstrated many times)?

Tags:
, ,
Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. ManuelMartini says:

    Maybe those firefighers will work for free so that you can have someone to complain to when you call.

  2. igotdabombfool says:

    Says the man in Yelm. If you don’t like the fact that you don’t get big city enforcement and big city manning of departments…move. Don’t complain about living in the middle of nowhere and not getting what you want.

    And how is one supposed to know if somebody else “clearly has breathing difficulties?” Not that many would much care apparently, considering most of these breathing difficulties are brought on by yourselves.

  3. alicia1941 says:

    if you really care about the burn ban all you have to do to know if one is on or if it is needed, is to go outside and breath. If you can do it without coughing, then it may not be on, but if you end up coughing up part of a lung, then you can assume the ban is on. Why not just stack up the wood and brush and wait till it is really dry in a month or so. Then burn at your leisure. Its not going to run off anywhere. the hard part is stacking it up.

  4. Murigen says:

    After the ice storm that took out many trees, and with those trees power lines, there was a burn ban. A burn ban during the winter when there is no power. Real bright. Even with a burn ban, if it’s a stage 1 people can burn in their homes if it’s their only source of heat. If there is no power then it’s likely that the only source of heat is a wood stove or fireplace. And if the temperature is low enough for there to be ice then you can bet people are gonna burn wood to keep warm.

  5. hensandducks says:

    It would be nice if we were encouraged to drive less during inversion periods and if we were taught not to idle. We could make short trips by foot, bike or bus. We could carpool to our jobs. In fact, knowing all that we know, we could decide to refrain from driving for 1-2 days per week (or more). Imagine how much cleaner our air might be. Stop treating our atmosphere like a sewage dump!

  6. alindasue says:

    Good idea, hensandducks. That probably would have even more positive effect on our air than punishing people just trying to stay warm.

  7. ReadNLearn says:

    Brilliant Henandducks! With all that stuff in the air, it’s not the best choice to do things which cause physical exertion and stretch the time of exposure to bad air. So, someone spending an hour puffing away on a bike in the stagnant air maybe helping the environment by being a weak biofilter and trapping that stuff in his lungs, but I’d much rather simply drive by him and be clear of the bad air areas in minutes.

  8. Bandito says:

    Sorry Brian but you live in Yelm. What did you expect?

  9. pantomancer says:

    If your sole source of heat is wood you are excluded from the ban. In the event you lose power and have no way to run your furnace, you are excluded from the ban.

  10. hens.., alinda.. How about we all just junk our conventional fossil-fuel only combustion engine polluting cars and trucks and buy a Toyota Prius? Or even better, a Nissan Leaf!

    I am serious! My wife drives our Prius and gets on average 42 mpg (it’s a 2nd Gen Prius. The new 3rd Gens get close to 50 mpg and can use solar power for air conditioning.)

    Perhaps President Obama, or even Clint Eastwood can have a chat with the Big Wheels in Detroit and get them to start building real hybrids and electric cars instead of the Volt, which is so far not working out too well. If Detroit did focus on hybrids and electrics, then there would be even more American jobs created because of such a mobilization of effort to really compete with the Japanese auto manufacturers on future technologies, rather than sticking with the past as Detroit currently seems to want to do.

    AND…

    Equip Burn Ban enforcers with Hybrid Cars so they can go out and enforce the Burn Ban without further adding to the air pollution.

  11. alindasue says:

    muckibr said, “How about we all just junk our conventional fossil-fuel only combustion engine polluting cars and trucks and buy a Toyota Prius?”

    It’s been a little while now since I left the rental car company. Have they improved the design of the Prius since or do you still have to take the back seat apart just to jump the battery? We ended up doing that a fair number of times. They are nice little cars otherwise…

    I don’t know which would be worse for the earth: keeping the old belching gas guzzlers running as long as possible OR mining all the resources needed to build new cars, finding the space for all the non-recyclable parts of the junked cars, dealing with a large toxic battery that has to be replaced every few years, and generating the “non-polluting” electricity to charge the cars with.

    Developing cars that charge with solar energy might solve the last issue – however, I prefer to develop a third option: let people own whatever cars they like, but devise means, like public transportation and careful urban planning (making cities easily walkable), so that they don’t have to drive as much.

    ReadNLearn said, “So, someone spending an hour puffing away on a bike in the stagnant air maybe helping the environment by being a weak biofilter and trapping that stuff in his lungs, but I’d much rather simply drive by him and be clear of the bad air areas in minutes.”

    So, you’d rather contribute to the bad air…
    I don’t know if breathing in air that’s passed by your car’s engine through the car’s HVAC system is much healthier for your lungs. In or out of the car, we are all breathing the pollution. In most cases, that guy who regularly walks or bikes as you drive by is going to end up being the one with the healthier lungs that are able to handle it.

    muckibr said, “Equip Burn Ban enforcers with Hybrid Cars so they can go out and enforce the Burn Ban without further adding to the air pollution.”

    I like that idea. Better yet, equip them with bikes, solving the problems of both added pollution and cost.

  12. muckibr says:

    alindasue, “Have they improved the design of the Prius since or do you still have to take the back seat apart just to jump the battery?”

    I don’t know about the Gen-1 Prius, but my Gen-2 has the bank of batteries for the electric motor behind the back-seat. But, you NEVER EVER want to try to jump-start those. And there are big warning stickers telling you not to. You might risk electrocution or possible explosion.

    The battery that you would jump-start, if needed for the gas-powered engine, is a regular 12 volt car battery behind the right-side wheel well, with an easy to remove cover to get access to it. I would assume, but don’t know for sure, that the Gen-3 Prius would probably be the same.

    You can run the Gen-2 Prius on gas alone if for some reason the bank of batteries for the electric motor goes completely dead.

    So, I guess the answer is Yes, that the design of the Prius battery system has changed since you had to work with them. Good thing too, right?

  13. muckibr says:

    Also, the electric motor battery bank of the Gen-2 Prius is guaranteed to last for at least 100,000 miles before needing replacement. We have not reached that mileage yet, but have had our Prius since 2005, and only had to replace the 12 volt battery once, and are still running on the original electric motor battery bank. When battery banks are replaced the old ones are recycled, not simply thrown in a landfill.

    As far as junk cars of all types, almost everything used in the manufacture of cars except fabric and padding is recyclable. Mike Rowe on the show Dirty Jobs has done a show on this and it’s really amazing how much of an old junked car can be reused to make new cars. Other shows like Modern Marvels also show the same recyclability of the automobile. In fact, the auto industry is one of the most, if not the most recyclable industry in the world!

    And, the cost of Hybrid and Electric cars now is comparable to other cars of the same size and class. So, it just doesn’t make sense not to buy a hybrid or electric if you’re in the market for a new car.

  14. cclngthr says:

    The Volt now has a buy back campaign due to fires. Lithium batteries tend to overheat

    hensandducks,
    Some of us cannot carpool because we work in different sites each day. Some people, like substitutes work in different sites and do not know where they will be required to work each day until they get that phone call.

    A small car won’t work when you work in an environment that requires heavier vehicles. If I need to pick up a car to work on, I have to use my truck, which has a 572 V8 with the power to haul heavy loads.

    Alindasue,

    The cabin air filter is able to trap the pollutants since they typically use a hepa filter. My car uses this type of filtration system for the interior of the vehicle.

  15. MadTaxpayer says:

    Go Diesel!

  16. muckibr says:

    Diesel STINKS!

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0