It has been a cold last few days here in Teton Valley, with temps close to zero becoming the norm. With the cold temperatures and the amount of snow we have received, it is the perfect time to start getting ready to burn those piles of leftover yard waste, tree limbs, and other clean combustible items. We try to start burning slash piles when there is about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground. Burn piles are a cost effective way for home owners to clean out their backyards of undesirable items but can become a large problem if not done correctly.
Make sure to add slash materials (branches, good wood and woody materials) in order of how well they will burn. Denser items need to be more centrally located where dry, dead wood can be placed on the top. Ideally, your burn pile should be as high as it is wide but keep in mind if your pile becomes too large you should separate materials into a few different piles. If your pile is larger than 1000 cubic feet, a special permit is required in order to burn. Location is an extremely important aspect of any burn pile. Burn piles need to be at least fifty feet from any structure and need to have a method to extinguish the fire at the site of the burn (a charged garden hose, a large fire extinguisher, or multiple fire extinguishers tend to work). To try and help make sure that your pile does not exceed the planned burn pile area; soak the surrounding area with a garden hose to reduce the chances of the fire spreading.
Lighting your burn pile can be a tricky endeavor but can be easily done. We recommend using a spray pack filled with diesel fuel to thoroughly cover the pile so it burns as efficiently as possible. Make sure you leave an access point where you can get in and light the fuel safely. Once your fire is lit, add more diesel fuel depending on how well the fire is burning. If you are using an accelerant such as diesel to burn, be extra cautious with your fire. Try to light the burn pile in the morning, as wind normally kicks up during the afternoon hours. Keep a responsible attendant at the fire to ensure that everything goes smoothly and so they can call the fire department if anything gets out of hand.
The last and most important aspect of a burn pile is to make sure the fire is completely out. Completely drown the fire with water after desired materials are done burning. Check the fire location regularly during the next couple of days to make sure it is completely extinguished.
The most important thing to keep in mind when burning a slash pile is to be safe. Take the extra time and caution when burning any fire to make sure everyone involved, including your property is safe. Contact the Tree and Landscape Company if you or someone you know needs a burn pile professionally taken care of.
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“The best friend on earth of man is the tree: when we use the tree respectfully and economically we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright