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Smoky fires can cause neighbour strife

Smoky fires can cause neighbour strife

Monday 30 May 2005

Light a smoky fire and you’re asking for trouble. And not just from your neighbours – but the regional council too.

Every autumn, Environment Bay of Plenty receives calls from irate residents who are being smoked out by neighbours burning fresh garden waste or tree clippings.

Principal compliance officer Steve Pickles says fresh plant material often produces billowing clouds of foul-smelling smoke that can fill nearby homes and taint washing. “If you do that, it’s not going to make you very popular in the neighbourhood. It also means you could receive a $300 fine, because you are breaching the Regional Air Plan.” Mr Pickles says compact urban living is making the situation even worse. “Though it’s not illegal to burn in urban areas, it’s not a good idea. It’s better to mulch or compost green waste, or to take it to the nearest transfer station. If you do have to burn, then make sure the material is well dried out first.”

It also pays to burn in small amounts, he explains. “That’s so you can put the fire out if wind conditions change or if it gets too smoky.” Always consider wind direction and the effect of smoke on neighbours. “And don’t leave fires unattended, both for safety reasons and because it might start smoking.”

It is also important to check materials are safe to burn. Don’t burn plastic, rubber, tyres or any other waste known to produce black smoke. And be wary of treated timber as toxic material can enter the soil.

If you have a problem with a neighbour’s smoke, talk to them about it, Mr Pickles says.


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