To burn or not to burn
October 17, 2009 05:00 am

With Curry County’s fire season officially over as of Wednesday, residents are likely to see more smoke in the area as property owners stoke up the burn barrels and conduct controlled burns.

The long-standing practice of burning yard waste in Curry County is a convenience for some and a nuisance (and sometimes a health threat) to others.

Several years ago, Brookings city officials banned burn barrels within city limits and started requiring permits for all fires, including commercial burning. It was a good decision, one based in large part on residents’ growing dislike of smoky skies. (The use of burn barrels and open burns is still permitted in unincorporated areas of Curry County.)

Another good idea, although not implemented yet, is our suggestion that the city or county create an isolated site where people could drop off material for free all year for a fire department to burn – ideally in one single day. Or perhaps create a public composting site where citizens can drop off yard clippings and other organic material, ultimately providing a source of mulch for private and public use.

Today, the community’s interest in non-burning alternatives continues to be strong. Twice a year, residents take full advantage of Curry Transfer and Recycling’s offer to cart away yard trimmings for free.

Of course hauling yard waste to a central site, or bundling it up for the trash man, isn’t as convenient as using a burn barrel. But open burning is quickly losing favor among a growing number of residents. It’s a practice that, for people’s health, safety and peace of mind, should be extinguished.

Until that happens, we encourage rural property owners to limit the impact of their burning activities by burning appropriate materials at appropriate times under appropriate weather conditions.

Your neighbors – and the community – will appreciate it.