City Council to Consider Ban on Open Burning at Tonight’s Meeting

Open burning of fields along roads in Grand Junction's residential areas creates a visibility hazard for drivers, and health hazards for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists and more.

Open burning in Grand Junction’s residential areas creates respiratory problems for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists as well as visibility hazards for motorists.

Does the smoke from open burning make you choke?

The Grand Junction City Council will consider bringing the City a bit further into the 21st century this evening when they consider an ordinance to ban open burning at their regular meeting.
Below is a summary of what the ordinance will do, taken from page 85 of tonight’s agenda. There are plenty of exceptions to the burn ban, but at least is does make it illegal to burn household and yard waste. That’s better than the “no action” alternative City residents been suffering with.
Looking at what else is on tonight’s agenda, council probably won’t get to this item much before about 7:45 p.m., and probably won’t get to the part where they allow public comment on the ordinance until maybe 8:20 or 8:30 p.m. If you’ve suffered from clouds of stinky, suffocating smoke overtaking your neighborhood during the five months of the year when open burning is still allowed, you might want to weigh in in favor of this measure:

 
Smoke from an open burning fire smothered an entire neighborhood one spring afternoon just 1/4 mile from Mesa Mall.

Smoke from an open burning fire smothered an entire neighborhood one spring afternoon just 1/4 mile from Mesa Mall.

“The draft ordinance restricts all outdoor burning, open burning, recreational fires, and bonfires with some exceptions. It restricts the burning of trash and household waste, vegetative material and burning for salvage operations. The following exceptions are included in the ordinance:

 Prescribed burning for fire prevention and pest control.
 Maintenance of canals, irrigation and drainage ditches governed by a Drainage District or Canal Irrigation Company/District to include private and/or incorporated laterals.
 Agricultural burns as permitted by Mesa County and State of Colorado regulations.
 Ceremonial bonfires for non-profit organizations, religious institutions, school districts, or governments.
 Cooking fires in open-flame cooking devices that use wood, gas or charcoal as fuel, including outdoor kitchens, BBQ smoke houses, BBQ smokers or in-ground cooking pits.
 Recreational fires that use wood, liquid or gas-fueled open-flame devices in the form of portable outdoor fireplaces, heaters and decorative devices such as tikitorches, lanterns, candles, etc. This includes permanent outdoor fireplaces.
 Professional firework displays.
 Burning (flaring) of natural gas is allowed at the sewer treatment plant and oil and gas wells.
 Fire suppression or fire department training activities.
 Valid construction or operational permits involving burning and/or open flames issued by the Grand Junction Fire Department.
 
Burn haze fills the valley during open the five months of burning season

Burn haze fills the valley during open the five months of burning season

The majority of outdoor burning complaints that the fire department or dispatch receives within City limits is for recreational fires in make-shift fire pits. In comparison, complaints outside of the City in the rural protection district are more often for trash burning or open burning of larger properties. With most of the burn permits issued in the City being for smaller parcels, staff believes that restricting outdoor burning is reasonable. The intent of the attached ordinance is to provide for public safety, reduce nuisance burning and community complaints, while also allowing reasonable exceptions.”

2 comments for “City Council to Consider Ban on Open Burning at Tonight’s Meeting

  1. Anne Landman
    November 5, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    The county rejected the burn ban due to protests from 2-3 owners of large lots within the City limits who complained they must be able to burn larger branches on their property. These are the lots that are causing the most illness and respiratory hazards for their neighbors, as they are now hemmed in by denser housing development. These are the kind of lots that are causing citizens to ask Council for the burn ban.

  2. steve landman
    November 5, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I want the air to be less smoke filled. It can be less dangerous for those with breathing problems if we consider other ways to dispose of trash. What city still lets people burn their trash?

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