As the seasons change, City officials say they see an increase in the need for disposal of limbs, leaves and yard debris. While many in Clinton choose to dispose of yard refuse through the City’s contract with Waste Management by bagging leaves and bundling limbs, others residents choose other methods to dispose of yard waste, such as in a compost pile for gardens.
Some turn to the ages-old method of “open burning,” choosing to dispose of their limbs and twigs in a small burn pile or burn barrel.
Simply thought of as burning things outside, “open burning” has residual effects well beyond the scope of the naked eye. The Clinton Fire Department has responded to structure fires that started when someone was burning in their yard and left the fire unattended.
Winds can pick up suddenly, blowing embers into other sources of fuel, such as piles of leaves or limbs near a wooden fence, deck or house.
“Before lighting that fire, remember to protect yourself, your neighbors, and your wallet by knowing what and where you can burn,” said Chief Jeff Blackledge of the Clinton Fire Department. “We can help you with this by giving you some pointers.”
Many “experts” at burning limbs in their yard have been humbled when the fire gets out of control and extends onto their neighbor’s property, damaging their lot and their structures. Residents are encouraged to let neighbors know of plans to burn limbs – they may want to help watch the fire and perhaps burn some limbs, too.
Only dried twigs or limbs and branches that originate from the property of the homeowner may be burned for disposal purposes. Permits are required for residents wishing to burn on their property. Permits may be obtained by calling the Clinton Fire Department 601-925-1001.
“We have a list of safety steps that we go over with the person requesting the permit,” said Blackledge.
Blackledge suggests the following precautions be taken by residents when burning on their property:
· Maintain a means to extinguish the fire at all times while burning; have a water hose handy at all times.
· Make sure it is not too windy to burn; check the wind speed and direction. For example, there should be no heavy smoke blowing across a busy street or into someone’s home.
· Place the fire at least fifty feet from any structure or other object that may catch fire.
· A competent person must attend the fire at all times.
· Prevent creating a nuisance for neighbors by burning only limbs (not leaves) in small piles. If neighbors complain of the nuisance smoke, the fire department will revoke the burn permit.
· Burning limbs is not allowed after dark. There are some exceptions to this, as some groups request to have a recreational fire for specific events.
· Make sure that the fire is OUT before leaving the area.
· For help, call 9-1-1.
City ordinances prevent the burning of certain items within the City limits. Materials that are illegal to burn at any time in Clinton include leaves, furniture/mattresses, household garbage and trash, tires, grass clippings and hazardous materials.
For residents not wishing to burn debris, other options exist.
The City’s Waste Management contractor is responsible for removing all yard waste that meets specific criteria concerning weight, length and packaging. Yard waste, such as leaves, trimmings and pine straw, must be placed in bags and tied, then placed curbside for the second collection day of each week.
Limbs and other trimmings should not exceed five feet in length and be no greater than eight inches in diameter. Limbs and/or bundled branches may not weigh more than sixty pounds or exceed two cubic yards and should be placed next to the trash receptacle.
Yard debris will be collected on the last collection day of the week.
It is against City ordinances to blow or rake leaves into storm drains or into the gutter and prohibit the piling of leaves and yard refuse curbside for more than fourteen days.
Additionally, blocking traffic lanes or creating line-of-sight hazards for motorists can result in liabilities to the homeowner.
Residents who contract with a tree service or hire an individual for the removal of trees on private property are responsible for the disposal of such debris.
Leaves make an excellent mulch for use around trees and shrubs, or in flower and vegetable gardens. They help retard the growth of weeds, help retain soil moisture, help maintain lower soil temperatures in the summer, and protect against temperature fluctuations and some types of low temperature injury during winter. They eventually decompose, adding their nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure.
Whatever means of limb and leaf disposal is chosen, residents are asked to follow City fire and disposal codes. For burn permits or information about outdoor burning, contact the Clinton Fire Department at 601-925-1001. For information about garbage and trash collection, contact the Clinton Public Works Department at 601-924-2239 or visit www.clintonms.org.
Special to The Clinton Courier