This past week as the weather has been improving many people in the area could smell smoke in the air. But it had a distinct odor, different from the fireplaces that have been blazing during the coldest part of the winter.
What was burning was leaves, branches and other yard refuse from last fall.
The weather always brings out those that like to have an open burn as soon as they detect the spring, and this year, even though it is still February people are getting that spring bug to light up the pile of yard refuse and watch it blaze.
But wait a minute; you just can't do that without some thought.
First, if you live in any of the incorporated areas in the county, open burning is generally not permitted anytime, in any season. Plan on hauling your refuse to the landfill.
If you live in the unincorporated county, you need to get clearance and do some other things before you strike up that match.
Obtain a burn permit.
First you must obtain a legal (but verbal) burn permit from Carbon County Dispatch. That can be done by calling 637-0890. Don't call 911 to get permission or you will tie up the lines for emergency calls.
When you call the dispatcher will ask your address, what and when you are planning to burn and a phone number you can be contacted at. In addition, they may tell you that you can't burn on certain days. Wind speed and air quality will determine their whether permission will be given or not. They may also give you other instructions about open burning.
Be prepared to burn outside.
Make sure you have tools (shovels, rakes and water if possible) to control any kind of fire migration problem. If a fire gets out of control for some reason, don't hesitate to call for help.
Keep the fire small. Basically the county fire fighters want outside burns of leaves and branches to be grouped in multiple piles and not just in one big pile to burn.
For more information about how to burn and what to do call the Carbon County Fire Warden, Justin Needles at 435-613-3772.