Burning part of the culture of the area

Shawnigan Lake – I am writing in response to the letter published in the Citizen on Dec. 31 from Gord Hutchings of Cobble Hill.

Kudos to Mr. Hutchings for a realistic view and appraisal of wood burning fireplaces and the choice to heat with wood.

He also touched on the fact that occasionally there would be the need to burn branches and debris caused by storms on properties in the Cowichan Valley area. As many Valley residents can attest, fires for clearing properties of organic debris are not only normal for our area but I feel are necessary as well.

Even a parcel of land smaller than one acre can be quite a challenge to maintain and keep under control.

Larger acreages are quite the challenge indeed.

We all live in the Cowichan Valley, a rural area that we enjoy in no small part because nature offers us much natural beauty. Some of this comes in the way of shrubs, trees, bushes, and plants of all shapes and sizes.

Basic, regular maintenance requires disposal of the debris collected.

Some of this can be composted and some cannot due to the sheer amount involved. It is at this point a fire becomes an excellent tool and when used properly, extremely efficient.

There are residents here in the

Valley who do not require the use of fires to maintain their parcels of land.

I can only assume they live in more developed areas such as the City of Duncan, smaller subdivisions etc., for the residents that do have rural property that require maintenance due to windfall, pruning etc. the majority of those are not able to justify the expense of trucking their debris to a composting centre.

The sheer time involved to transport the debris is generally quite high.

Let’s not forget the ever-present tailpipe emissions created by the multiple trips to and from any such composting facility.

The residents who complain about wood smoke as a pollution

and health concern do seem to neglect the ever-present motor vehicle as a major contributor to their concerns.

Mr. Hutchings made a striking point in his letter.

That is, in rural areas, heating with wood stoves, burning of wood, outdoor wood-based fires for property cleanup, all of these have been around as long as man has been.

This includes in our own Cowichan Valley of course.

For the vocal minority that disapprove of such practices, I would ask that you respect the culture of the area that you are moving into or have grown up in.

Ken R. Worth Shawnigan Lake