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Letter to the editor

Burn ban call for health, safety

August 10, 2011 - Dear editor,

Over the years my neighborhood has witnessed several major incidents regarding burning leaves and other brush in Independence Township. We feel this is necessary to share this information to assist the township board in their decision making.

Some residents near us burn responsibly, observing the law and they do not burn when a heavy wind is coming towards the homes.

However there are the few that never observe the law and burn anything at anytime. Our neighborhood consists of mostly 1-2 acres near a heavy wooded area.

We have inhaled the burning of treated lumber and other toxic substances. We have witnessed burning leaves under a tree, unattended, when the wind was blowing and to top it off, this person was burning late at night.

One individual was burning and thought he extinguished the fire only to receive a call at midnight from the neighbors that the flame was still going. Several ongoing instances when people burn whenever they feel like it, probably without a permit.

Most of my neighbors are very conservative about "big brother" taking over our privileges, sometimes. However, we are not in favor of someone else's smoke overwhelming our entire properties during most of the fall.

Even when you are confined in your home, the smoke can still penetrate through and yes, it has made us ill, especially small children.

Several of us have moved here from other states unaware of any burn issues so it is not fair to say people should not move here if they do not like the smell of burning leaves. This issue rides on more serious matters. Have we forgot about Grayling, Mich., that lost thousands of acres of forest and several homes due to someone burning?

Some of us suggest those with large acreage be allowed to burn (i.e. farmers). For most residents, leaves can be chopped up with the right kind of lawn mower blade. There are areas to drop off brush in Lake Orion and other communities.

We are tired of getting ill from the smoke on our properties and not being able to go outside when someone is burning nearby. Are we to assume that those who are burning will be responsible so that we have a neighborhood the next day?

We thank the Clarkston News and the new committee for their assistance in bringing this issue up for discussion and hopefully the health and safety issues can be resolved.

Barbara Hill

Independence Township

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