Danville issues warning on enforcement of leaf-burning rules

Danville issues warning on enforcement of leaf-burning rules

DANVILLE — The fire department will be enforcing the city's leaf burning ordinance this fall, according to Public Safety Director Larry Thomason.

If a city resident violates the ordinance, Thomason said, fines from $150 to $1,000 could be issued.

"The ordinance was put in place for one reason — safety," said Thomason in a news release. "Each year the Fire Division responds to illegal leaf (fires). Danville firefighters feel fortunate that there have not been more serious consequences from some of the calls they respond to, and they want that record to continue. Illegal leaf fires or careless disregard for maintenance of a recreational fire are two causes of potential heavy property damage and even injury to persons. Fires spread rapidly outdoors."

Depending on weather conditions, Thomason may issue a citywide no-burn order. Several factors, according to Thomason, are considered before the order is issued, including alerts from the National Weather Service that indicate low humidity levels and dry vegetation. And wind conditions are very important, too, he said.

"There is no agreed upon minimum wind speed that can be set as a factor in considering a no-burn order," Thomason said, "but generally we look at 15 miles per hour sustained or greater."

Thomason said that the safest way to dispose of leaves is using city-approved yard waste toters or leaf bags.

But if residents insist on burning their leaves, they need to follow the ordinance.

— Only leaves can be burned, no twigs, branches, limbs, brush, paper, refuse or similar items.

— Burning must be between sunrise and sunset.

— Burning cannot be on any public street, alley or sidewalk.

— A responsible person over 16 years old must constantly attend the fire.

— Burning that is not in a container, like a burn barrel, must be at least 50 feet from all structures.

— Burning in approved containers must be 15 feet from any structure.

— Firefighting equipment, like a garden hose, buckets of water or extinguishers, must be readily available.

— No burning on windy days or under other conditions that create or add to a hazardous situation.

— Also, if residents want a recreational fire, they need to call 442-0153 and give the date and hours of the fire.