Burning season in Grand County a productive one
April 26, 2009
The winter’s wood-pile burn season saw the greatest number of cubic-feet yet, according to Grand County Natural Resources Foreman Jennifer Murray.
The pine beetle epidemic was evident in 17.5 million cubic feet of slash equating to 7,510 piles that were burned between Dec. 1 and April 13.
About 37 percent of the burns were completed before the Christmas holiday.
“It’s best to be more aggressive before Christmas,” Murray said. “It allows bigger burns when there are fewer people in the Valley and when there is less snow on the piles, so they burn better and don’t have as much smoke.”
Compared to last year, there was a 35 percent increase in the volume of slash burned, even though the season was 26 days shorter and with two weeks fewer available burn days due to weather conditions.
Property owners made up for it, however, with conditions allowing for longer hours on days that were available, Murray said, adding that people are growing accustomed to building small piles that can be burned more often.
Last November, the county implemented a burn permit system that exempts the $50 fee for burn piles smaller than 10 feet x10 feet x10 feet.
“We encourage people to build smaller piles so we can take advantage of days that have shorter good-air-quality windows,” Murray said.
Aside from a few small fires that got away, there were no major fires resulting from burn piles this year.
With an estimated 10,000 acres of private property already logged and burned in the county, “We’re over halfway there,” Murray gauged.
Natural Resources predicts county residents may face a few more winters of heavy-duty pile burning before the activity subsides.
“We appreciate people continuing to be cooperative and courteous following our regulations because that’s really helping to get the most slash burned with minimal impacts to other residents,” Murray said.
“I know it’s not zero impact, but we’ve been keeping it less.”
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.