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Phyllis Fending of the Colonial Heights neighborhood of Lewiston is fuming that campfires are aggravating her respiratory problems.

Her neighbors disagree, and the issue has been handed to the Niagara County Board of Health.

The board, meeting in DeFlippo's Restaurant on Thursday night, advised residents to document the issue so board members can reach a decision.

Outside the meeting, Fending said: "I'm the one that they're damaging. . . . (The campfires have) been going on since the 25th of July."

Fending, a Kline Road resident, maintains that smoke from the campfires is damaging her lungs.

"I can't even have surgery until they can determine how much damage is done to me," she said.

Other residents contend the problem isn't campfires.

William Farthing of Garlow Road believes other airborne pollutants are at fault. "You will smell smoke in the area, and you will not see one campfire or bonfire," he said.

Jean Wactawski-Wende, president of the Board of Health, said residents must write down all their comments before the board can make a decision.

She also said a committee of the Board of Health would report on the matter to the full board before making a recommendation to the Niagara County Legislature.

"My feeling is, generally, things can be worked out if (the neighbors) can keep level heads," Wactawski-Wende said.

Assistant County Attorney J. Michael Fitzgerald said it is unlikely that residents would still be burning wood outside this late in the season.

And he advised that it's OK to burn dry wood as long as no garbage or rubbish is added.

Under current county law, no open burning is allowed.

But, Fitzgerald added, "I don't think it was ever the board's intention to eliminate family campfires."

In another matter, county Director of Environmental Health James J. DeVald said he received a confirmation from the state Health Department that a third dead bird has been confirmed to be infected with the West Nile virus.

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