Wood Smoke Stories

Hawaiian nightmare

I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. My home is in a rural subdivision with acre lots. For 8 years I have enjoyed the Trade winds blowing from the ocean through my bamboo, citrus orchard and Pak Lan tree into my house which is an open plan with 10 sliding glass doors. So I live in a “fish bowl” surrounded by trees. If I cannot open my windows it gets very hot.

Recently the 2 acres side by side directly behind my fence was sold. The existing house is on the back acre but next door, the new owners started weed whacking and hand clearing green brush and weeds, mostly strawberry guava known as Waiawi in Hawaii. They started burning green and partially dried branches for a “cooking fire.” Open burning is not allowed, but if you say you are cooking it is legal.

I called the fire department after coming home to a smoke-filled house thinking there was a fire in my area and was afraid my bamboo or something in my yard was on fire. It turns out the new guys have regular fires right behind my fence, not on their house acre. So now I have been held captive in my own house, not knowing when I can open my windows, or what I will come home to, if I leave the windows open. If I go into my yard, I come in stinking of smoke and gasping for air as I have severe asthma and allergies.

After 30 years of living in “paradise” my neighbors are actually KILLING ME. I don't know why they can’t have a campfire by their house, away from the trade wind tunnel that runs up my acre. I have become very distressed and have much anxiety over the matter. I wish they would at least educate themselves on the hazards of burning GREEN BRUSH instead of dried hard wood. God help me!