Some advice for the leaf burners
So, you do not want to pay for trash disposal and/or you want to burn items on a regular basis. Here are some of the guidelines you need to keep in mind:
Know all of the rules you are supposed to be abiding by, so you know what you have to do to appear not to be breaking any.
This one is important: Remember you and everyone in your household has to have the mantra of you are “only burning leaves.”
Make sure you have at least one pile of leaves somewhere on ground for proof they need to be burned.
You cannot think about anything, not the environment, other people, or yourself.
Best to be a renter, so if these guidelines do not work, you have someone to share the expense of blame, cleanup and/or fines.
Even though you live on several acres, you still need to dispose of those leaves two or three times a week by burning; you cannot place them in a pile somewhere to burn two or three times a year.
Always start your fires with a petrochemical. Sure it is dangerous, but if pressed for time, and need to dispose of a lot of trash quickly, it is very efficient.
Remember you do not care about setting yourself or anything else on fire — go for it (especially if you are renting or want to burn your house down).
Be ready to burn any time of day when individuals are not around, wind is not blowing too severely, and you are not going to be rained out.
Keep in mind this is the disposal of your trash year round, and your desire to burn things. If you have not called for a permit or it is not burn season, be ready to put out fire immediately, jump in your vehicle, and get away from where you are burning.
Be prepared to be heartless. People may inform you of how your smoke is affecting their health, homes, or lifestyle, but you cannot really care about anything, except for your desire to burn “leaves.”
After every fire, make sure you rake through ashes to shovel up and place in a stump hole or container somewhere else any items which may show you are breaking any burning rules. Put up Private Property signs to feel like you are deterring any nosy individuals about your habits.
When someone complains about a fire during burn season, they send out firemen to check it out. I am reminding you to make sure you are adhering to all published burning guidelines by the time they arrive, so you can look like a good law-abiding citizen.
Do not worry about anyone’s complaints or what they have seen you doing. If a complaining individual goes up the ranks in the Fire Department, the higher ranking individuals will come out and make recommendations about how to build your fire(s). Once they leave, keep burning those “leaves” more than you ever did before.
If individuals who complain about you take situation to Forestry Service, they will give you approximately four warnings before doing anything serious. This is a lot of notices to be caught burning illegally.
Personally, I like to pay my quarterly fee for personal trash pick-up to keep from participating in above practices. Also, I keep my leaves on the ground to decompose to assist with soil quality. I am open to legal and constructive suggestions for individuals who are participating in above burning practices.
Beth Massengale Holton