Northwest NEWS

May 14, 2001

Editorial

PSCAA says within four years there will be no outdoor burning

The April 20th letter praising the Hollywood Hill burn ban as a means of preserving clean air doesn't take into account the consequences of introducing into the solid waste stream tons of chipped and hauled debris from rural acreages.
   It's not outdoor burning that causes carbon monoxide pollution failures; it's engine emissions. The commercial chippers needed for what comes off acreages, as opposed to city lots, emit carbon monoxide, as do the big trucks used for hauling equipment and chips. And as pointed out at a state solid waste meeting in Seattle, the hauling trucks will contribute to further traffic congestion in this already over-trafficked area. (As to the cost of chipping and hauling, one Hollywood Hill land-owner recently paid over $200 and another $700 for the service.)
   Per state data, there has never been an emission standards failure from outdoor burning on Hollywood Hill. Smoke problems area-wide have not occurred during the spring/fall windows in which limited outdoor burning has been allowed. (Presumably summer/winter problems come from forest fires and fireplaces? Even then, King County has met federal standards.)
   It is always illegal to have a smoky smoldering fire of, say, green grass clippings; and all fires must be extinguished at sunset. Clean-burning outdoor fires are preferable to noisy, smoky machinery and truck exhausts.
   The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) has been arbitrary and duplicitous in imposing a ban west of Avondale Road, while allowing burning across the street to the east. PSCAA has claimed to some callers that west of Avondale is an urban area - which it is not - and hence the burn ban; to other callers it has claimed the western area has failed carbon monoxide standards and hence the ban. (But they've produced no evidence of carbon monoxide or other emission failures.)
   That's never-no-mind the PSCAA, however, they have been quoted as saying that within four years no outdoor burning will be allowed anywhere within their jurisdiction. (We can assume planned forest fires will be exempt.)
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville