Open burn season starting, filling sky with smoke

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. -- The air could be a little smokier around the Grand Junction area since open burn season has begun.

"I think anyone who starts a fire should know what they are doing because there are plenty of people who have burned down their sheds or garage or something else," said Dan Miller resident of Grand Junction.

Now that it's open burn season in Mesa County, fire departments in the area are warning residents about the requirements to burn.

Those requirements are:
1. Burning is only permitted during daylight hours
2. An adult must constantly attend to fire and be able to show permit
3. Can NOT burn household trash, scrap lumber, leaves, tree stumps, tires, lawn clippings
4. Must have water hose, pump or fire extinguisher nearby
5. Keep the fire 50 feet from any structure including combustible fences
6. Do NOT burn when wind could fire to get out of control or during red flag conditions

You must have a burn permit to be able to start a burn on open land. They are $25 and can be purchased at the Grand Junction Fire Department, the Heath Department and Clifton Fire Department.

"That's the first thing we are going to ask for too, when we come on scene were going to ask you 'Do you have a valid burn permit and can we see it?'" said Shawn Montgomery from GJFD.

Resident Kevin Samuel was outside burning his weeds Thursday, mainly for property maintenance.

"In an area like this, I think burning is a fundamental part of some of the farmers and ranchers and how they maintain their fields," said Samuel.

"I have burned probably will do so again. I don't like it, necessarily, I know people who don't like smoke," Miller said.

Even though it is burn season, fire fighters still want residents to be aware of anything getting out of control.

"If you are concerned about anything, call 9-1-1 and we're be happy to come check things out. But yes, do expect smoke in the air," Grand Junction Fire Department’s Shawn Montgomery said.

"We see the most successful burns happening in the morning. When you start getting towards the afternoon, that wind starts to swirl around our little county here. That's when we start seeing our problems," Montgomery added.

The Health Department suggests composting items that can't be burned, such as yard waste, like leaves and grass clippings. Composting is a green alternative, as burning can affect air quality.

Those items can be taken to the Mesa County Organic Materials Composting Facility on Highway 50.

The composting facility is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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