Smoke signals

Letter by Cathy Baiton, printed in the Calgary Herald (  Letters – July 11, 2010

Re: “Backyard burning. Ban firepits!,” Letter, July 8

It was good to see the recent letter supporting the wisdom of banning urban firepits. A growing number of communities in Canada –  and elsewhere – have already banned wood-burning firepits, to prevent the unnecessary fire risk, and to help protect the air and residents’ health. More people now recognize that wood smoke just doesn’t belong in residential areas, where everyone is sharing the air.

There is simply no way to burn wood without creating pollution and smoke. Even the burning of clean, dry, seasoned hardwood, emits a considerable amount of pollution.

In cities across Alberta, people now have much more protection from secondhand cigarette smoke, but no protection from unwanted second-hand wood smoke, which is no less hazardous to health. If Calgary were to successfully pass a bylaw banning wood burning firepits, it would relieve the needless suffering from firepit smoke that many people are now having to endure in their homes, yards, and neighbourhoods. It would also set an excellent example of concern for public health and environmental stewardship that other Alberta communities would hopefully be encouraged to follow, for the good of their own air quality and community health.