City backs fire pit curfew
TheStarPhoenix April 28, 2008
A majority of city councillors voted Monday at an executive committee meeting to add a midnight curfew to the current fire and protective services bylaw, which allows open-air burning of seasoned wood in properly constructed fire pits or boxes.
"Last year . . . 24 times I had to leave my backyard or my garden or my deck and retire to my basement, and it's really not that pleasant a place on a summer evening," homeowner Morgan McClellan told the committee. "This year we've already had four events, and one of them was last Friday afternoon . . . and it was raining."
More information on air quality
Lung Association comment:
Dr. Stephen Whitehead, deputy medical health officer for the Saskatoon Health Region, stated that there is not a significant body of evidence to support a complete ban. This same lack of evidence implies that residential burning cannot be considered safe from a public health point of view. Dr. Whitehead did not indicate how much evidence or what extent of damage to the health of Saskatoon citizens would be required before he would support a ban on residential burning.
A midnight curfew does little to alleviate the problem. Winds usually die down in early evening and the temperature drop at dusk creates a thermal inversion that traps the smoke. Burning before midnight will usually ensure that there is smoke all night long.