This is the 21st century, is it not?
The reason behind my asking is because in this day and age, one would think outdoor burning of yard clippings and trimmings would be outlawed, especially in California, a state with some of the most stringent air-quality regulations anywhere. Well, in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, it is apparently okay – with the proper permit – to burn backyard clippings and cuttings. Fortunately for Santa Ynez Valley residents, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department has instituted a one-year trial program that provides chipping services. Now, area residents – at least for a year, anyway – have an air-friendly alternative to burning yard cuttings, an air-polluting process.
“This pilot program will provide property owners with Residential Dry Vegetation Burning (Backyard Burning) permits an alternative to burning tree trimmings and other yard waste,” the Santa Barbara County Fire Department expressed in a Mar. 3, 2015 news release.
This alternative to burning offers a practical solution to deal with yard refuse in both an effective and less air- and health-damaging way.
“‘We are developing this program in response to complaints we have received about smoke and poor air quality in the Santa Ynez Valley as a result of permit burning,’ said Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson,” as he was cited in the release.
Is it any wonder? Sorry, but this seems like a no-brainer.
And, why only a year?!
There was nothing mentioned in the release about extending the program. Could it be that the number of staff available to provide such services is limited and/or that the Santa Ynez Valley, depending on how many requests are made, could spread thin what program resources there are? What was, however, communicated was that the program may be expanded “to include chipping for Fire Hazard Reduction Burning permit holders,” which “could further reduce the amount of smoke produced from permit burns.”
“Utilizing the recently reinstituted Hand Crew, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department will offer permit holders who request the service, a visit from the Hand Crew with a wood chipper and dump truck. The Hand Crew will chip the vegetation free of charge beyond the $50 permit fee. The wood chips can be used by the property owners as mulch which further reduces fire danger, or it can be hauled away,” the fire-fighting agency declared in the release.
Also according to information presented, the program was supposed to have taken effect on Apr. 1st.