County needs new system for burning

January 3, 2019

Environmental problems often seem so huge and overwhelming that it seems impossible to deal with them locally. But here is an issue that could be addressed on the county level to improve quality of life for Douglas County residents: Winter smoke pollution.

As soon as the fire restrictions were lifted, smoke began to reappear here — just when we thought the suppression of forest fires had given us clean air to breathe again.

Huge piles of slash at logging sites appeared to be the major cause, but many individuals are burning things in their backyard, like small farm collections of fallen limbs or pruned materials from orchards and leaves. That’s not surprising since we now must pay at the landfill and transfer stations to dispose of yard waste.

Earlier in the month, the smoke was so bad outside my own home that my dog would not go out, apparently afraid that I was sending him into a fire. I learned a few days later that a neighbor had awakened her husband that night because she thought their house was on fire. What she was smelling was just the smoke that had settled into the area.

Yesterday when I drove into Roseburg, the smoke between Tyee Landing and Marvin Hill was worse than any we experienced throughout the summer.

Surely Douglas County could develop a system of issuing permits to burn throughout the year along with hefty fines for those who burn without a permit. This could regulate the rate of burning in a given area of the county, providing some relief.

This is something our County Commissioners could accomplish that would be of benefit to everyone who lives or vacations here.

Prudy Zorotovich


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