Grand Valley Residents Jump the Gun on Open Polluting Season 2016

A Grand Junction resident at

A Grand Junction resident at 720 26 Road openly burns a pile of yard debris on February 28, several days before the official start of Mesa County’s Spring Open Polluting season, which runs from March 1 to May 31.

Spring Open Polluting season is almost here in Mesa County, but many landowners who are eager to burn leaves and trash can’t wait. They’re jumping the gun and polluting their neighbors’ air earlier than the law allows.

Open Polluting Season in the county officially starts on March 1 and runs until the end of May. During this time, area residents can legally burn yard debris and force their neighbors inhale the smoke without concern for the health or welfare of anyone around them. The County also permits open polluting in September and October. During these months citizens are allowed to pour trash into the Grand Valley’s air and suffocate nearby residents with clouds of stinky smoke during the five most beautiful months of spring and fall, ironically at the same time outdoor temperatures become most conducive to enjoying outdoor activities.

Rules? What Rules?

Under the law, which is widely ignored, the burning of trash, grass clippings and leaves, any kind of commercial and industrial waste and anything plastic or toxic is not allowed. It is also impermissible to burn any sooner than two hours after sunrise and any later than two hours before sunset. But many people burn illegal materials after nightfall to avoid detection and fines.

Mesa County’s Open Polluting Season routinely sends large numbers of Grand Valley residents running to their doctors’ offices and local emergency rooms for exacerbation of heart and lung ailments like asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary fibrosis, allergies and more. Area realtors and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, which distributes relocation packets to people who are considering moving to the Grand Valley, don’t tell potential relocatees about the cultural throwback of legal open polluting or the health hazard it poses, so we’re telling people about it here. 

Open Polluting permits are available at the Mesa County Health Department for as little as $5 – $15, making the burning of trash and yard waste one of the least expensive and most easily accessible pastimes for firebugs and pyromaniacs throughout the Grand Valley. The revenue that the burn permits generate never comes close covering to the expenses and loss caused by the fire department having to respond to illegal and out of control fires, and the property damage that occurs routinely during Open Polluting Season.

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