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Residents off Burnt Store Road upset about prescribed debris burn happening down the street

Posted at 11:01 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 23:01:45-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After surviving a hurricane, some people in northwest Cape Coral are battling air quality.

A prescribed burn, just off Burnt Store Road and Diplomat Parkway, has some people in these neighborhoods upset and asking “why do this now?”

The City of Cape Coral zoned this particular plot of land as a park. But FEMA has been using it to burn horticulture debris from Hurricane Ian. The smell of smoke from that burn, though, is getting to the heads of many who live close by.

"It’s a nightmare because at 7 o’clock in the morning, you hear the beep beep beep all day long until 7 o’clock at night.”

Imagine living across the street from this.

“It’s horrible," says Tom Howard. "I wish they could find someplace that wasn’t a residential area to do it.”

Behind a fence, a controlled burn goes on for horticulture debris. But the burn is going up in smoke and it’s very unpleasant for some who live nearby.

“That’s how you feel when you walk outside," said Kevin Lynett, who also lives down the street. "It starts getting in your throat, itchy eyes, and this morning it was just horrendous.”

You can see just how large the property is with the fence, wrapping around the entire property. Even with green tarps on the fence to cover the view, those don’t stop the smoke.

“I think the idea was to not have look at it as much and maybe cut the dust down a little bit," said Howard. "But half of it has already blown over and half the green material is all ripped off already.”

Another concern— how long it’s going to stick around.

“I’ve got company coming Thanksgiving and this winter was the season when everyone comes down here and they’ve got to drive by an industrial site," said Lynett. "That’s what it looks like.”

As for a potential solution, Howard says he might have one in mind….

“I understand it has to be done but if there’s anything they can do to alleviate it, somewhat, or shorten the process. That’s what we’re asking for.”

We checked online with the Florida Forest Service and the plot has been authorized as an active burn site. However there is no timeframe for how long it will stay.