Burn, baby, burn, North Cowichan’s decision to opt for a longer fall burning season a hazy situation

Regulations will just create more confusion and won’t be enforced

North Cowichan’s new burning bylaw does absolutely nothing to improve the air quality throughout the entire Cowichan Valley region.

Some councillors seem to think progress is being made, but it really isn’t. In many ways, it’s a step backwards. Kudos to Rob Douglas for voting against it.

Extending the fall opening burning season to begin Sept. 15 does not make any sense. In this era of climate change, we are often in a cycle from mid-September to mid-October when there is very little air movement. How is this going to clear the air, so to speak?

And it’s all well and good for councillors to say burning will only be allowed during this period when the proper venting conditions exist and only during daylight hours, but who’s going to enforce this? Who’s going to determine when it’s the proper time and how’s that message going to reach the public?

It comes down to the usual problem of having people blowing the whistle on their neighbours for violations because North Cowichan’s bylaw enforcement team surely doesn’t have time to run around and extinguish burn piles that will undoubtedly spring up anyway when conditions should not allow it.

The bigger problem is people don’t know how to burn. Go around the Valley at any time during open burning season and you’ll find piles of heavy smoke and very little flame. Some of them will smolder for days, maybe even weeks, before all the material burns out.

Get a Tiger torch out and be done with it quickly.

It’s no shock smoke lingers in our Valley because of the topography. That’s not going to change. But putting in a bunch of more regulations that are not going to be enforced will not help.