A Sandpoint mother says she's asking the Intermountain Grass Growers' Association to pay medical expense she and her family incurred during the recent grass-burning season.

Kathleen Pitts said her son, R.J. Hermans, 12, suffered breathing difficulties and a family doctor said it was caused by heavy smoke from field burning that accumulated over Sandpoint.As a result, she's asking the association for the $44.50 it cost to treat her son with medicine and an aspirator. "If you are not willing to do that, we will be forced to take action," she wrote the association last month.

Northern Idaho grass seed growers burn fields in the fall to stimulate new growth and rid the fields of insect pests. The smoke from those activities has caused considerable controversy, with some community leaders claiming the air pollution is hurting the Coeur d'Alene area's substantial tourism industry.

Pitts said she doesn't expect to hear from the association, but "this is just a start."

Pitts hopes to locate other area residents with similar problems caused by grass burning. She intends to form a group and file a class-action lawsuit, something she couldn't afford to do on her own.