Kitsap County Burn Ban: Property advocate suggests alternatives

Travis Baker
Bremerton Sun Staff

January 30, 2003

Kitsap County, WA - The head of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners would like to see the total burn ban in parts of Kitsap County relaxed.

Vivian Henderson, the group's executive director, floated the possibility Monday at the county commissioners' televised public meeting.

She suggested designating short periods of time, perhaps twice a year when the weather is favorable, to allow outdoor burning in a few areas of the county where it is now permanently banned.

It's an idea with little chance of approval, Amy Fowler of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said Tuesday.

It would require a change in state law and a reversal of direction in clean air laws, she said.

Henderson's proposal would affect places on the periphery of most of the county's designated urban growth areas and, in the case of Chico, linking two UGAs, those of Bremerton and Silverdale.

She is not proposing to lift the ban inside the UGAs, she said.

The ban in the UGAs and surrounding areas was imposed by the clean air agency in compliance with state law.

Burning in most of the county -- the more rural areas -- still is allowed except during air pollution episodes and periods of high fire hazards.

The existing law creates a financial hardship for low-income people and unsightly fire hazards where brush is allowed to accumulate, Henderson said.

"I think there are a lot of people that are very disappointed in the government for not allowing them to dispose of their yard waste in a more equitable way," she said.

"Maybe rotate it through the communities to avoid loading up the county with smoke," she said Monday. "None of us want polluted air to breathe, but we still have a lot of windless, drizzly days and I'd like to see the county reach out to people who have other things to do with their (money)."

Her idea is on the agenda for Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners' board meeting Tuesday to see if the group wants to promote it, she said.

Fowler said state law mandates a burn ban wherever an alternative means of disposal exists. Curbside pickup of yard waste is regarded as a suitable alternative.

In fact, the law requires regular re-evaluation of areas where alternatives exist and encourages an expansion of the no-burn zones.

There has been no discussion of intermittent lifting of the band in localized areas, such as Henderson proposes, and there is no provision in the law for it, Fowler said.

Henderson said anyone who wants to comment on the idea can reach her at (360) 710-8560.


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