Letters to the editor

Responsible Wood Burning

Editor:

In regards to Carol A. Wivel's two letters' to the editor about "wood burning":

I have had a fire pit for over five years and know countless people that do. Those who are simply spending time with their family and friends, follow all current ordinances and restrictions, and take the time to make sure they are following the rules and spent money to purchase a "legal" fire bowl should be respected.

We are the people that she has been making constant complaints about. My friends and I followed all the rules and checked with our surrounding neighbors before burning. Little did we know that our neighbor who lived over a thousand feet away from us would be the one to complain. We are respectful of our surroundings, never loud, and never burned late. We only used the fire pit to hang out with our neighbors, cook food, and we never would burn on a windy night. We also made the required phone call to the police station to let them know that we were burning. I am sure that most owners of fire bowls do the same.

I do not enjoy having the police called on my friends and I when we are simply cooking out and took the proper steps not to disturb anyone. I myself have asthma and that is why we will only burn when the smoke will travel up, as not to bother anyone or myself. We have been reported to the police a few times now and have not burned in over two months because we do not enjoy having the authorities called on us every time we cook out, yet she continues to complain. She fails to mention the phone call that she made when we were not even burning and accused us of disrupting her. Once again having the police called to my door while we were studying for finals, clearly not burning, only to have the two officers touch our stone-cold fire bowl.She lives on the edge of Bellevue, and it is quite apparent that residents who live by the Brighton Heights Giant Eagle have these fire pits also. The smell of fire pits from what is likely Brighton Heights lingers on our street every night. Other neighbors also have recently bought a grill, and the smell is nearly the exact same. Especially with her comment about "wood smoke" where many grillers have begun to buy fire grilling planks, wood burning stoves, and flavored wood chips to flavor their food. It is unfair to them to be criticized with phone calls about possible "wood burning" when they are simply cooking out. It is summer after all, and people are simply trying to enjoy themselves.

There are more important things to deal with in our borough such as the endless break-ins and drug-related arrests or charges that I read about in The Citizen every week. I could understand if we were loud and obnoxious, but that is not the case. We even invited her to join us for food one night. One person's apparent misery of not being able to even walk at night when she openly admitted that she does not even have a respiratory problem is ridiculous. It seems rash to say that she cannot even drive down the avenue without having to close up her windows. It is clear that no one is burning yet she says that the problem still bothers her. I do not feel that the police should have to be called to come to what will likely end up being pointless responses to families or friends having innocent fires, trying to have a good time.

My friends, friends' neighbors, and I are irritated with these letters and the fact that we have to worry about the next time we want to use our fire bowl that's remained unused for a while now. I know that others like myself do not wish to have to change their social and eating habits because of one complaint, and if I petition or something like it is necessary, then I will pursue it.

Krystal Waldschmidt
Bellevue

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