Mesa County’s Fall Open Burn Season means get permits and plan safely


MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KREX) — Autumn’s open burn season goes until Halloween for Mesa County, but only for the month of September in Grand Junction city limits. Even with the recent heavy rainfall, Mesa County is still in an extreme drought.

If outdoor recreational activities include starting a fire, fire chiefs recommend to be flexible and keep an eye out for breezy forecasts.

“I’m not saying we’re gonna go back into stage one burn restrictions but we still have to be very cautious,” Clifton’s Fire Chief Charles Balke expresses, “Any open burning that takes place can easily get out-of-control. We still have high winds that pick up a fire very rapidly and can quickly get out of control.”

An open burn permit doesn’t keep a fire in control, but it does make permit holders aware of where a human-made fire should be. Residential and agricultural permits for open burn are issued only through Mesa County Public Health.

The timeframe is set considering the safety of what people inhale while being outside.

“Air quality is always worse over summer, so we don’t want any fire smoke attributing to that that air quality you see in summer months,” Mesa County Public Health’s Stefany Busch elaborates, “September 1: we’re almost in Fall, we’re changing those seasons, and usually air quality little better and fall and winter months.”

Open burn permits cost 25 dollars for residential and are free of charge for year-round agricultural. The fee goes to your local fire protection district, containing the burn and maintaining public safety.

Prohibited open burning: Open burning as part of any salvage operation is prohibited.

  • The burning of household waste or rubbish is prohibited including, but not limited to:
    • Leaf or grass clipping piles;
    • Natural or synthetic rubber products, including tires;
    • Waste oil and/or used oil filters and any waste automotive, machine fluid or lubricant, pesticide, herbicide and/or any other chemical, process fluid or the constituents thereof;
    • Insulated wire;
    • Plastic, including polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”) pipe, tubing, and connectors;
    • Tar, asphalt, asphalt shingles, or tar paper;
    • Railroad ties;
    • Wood, wood residue, or lumber which has been painted, stained or which has been treated with preservatives containing arsenic, chromium, pentachlorophenol, or creosote;
    • Batteries;
    • Motor vehicle bodies;
    • Pathogenic wastes;
    • Asbestos or asbestos containing materials; or
    • Similar dense or toxic smoke producing substances.

Unrestricted burning: (Unrestricted burning may be limited during air quality
bans or weather related bans). An open burn permit is not required for the following:

  • The burning for maintenance of canals, irrigation and drainage ditches owned and
  • operated by a Drainage District or Canal and/or Irrigation Company or District;
  • Cooking Fires:
    • Open-flame cooking devices in the form of LP-gas or charcoal burner grills that are subject to regulatory and safety provisions stated in the most recently adopted International Fire Code.
    • Solid-wood fueled cooking fires utilized in outdoor kitchens (permanent masonry fireplaces/pizza ovens), barbecue (also BBQ) smoke houses, BBQ smokers and in-ground cooking pits or devices.
    • Propane, natural gas and wood burning permanent and portable fireplaces and fire pits;
    • Other liquid-fueled or gas-fueled open-flame devices in the form of heaters, and decorative devices such as tiki-torches, lanterns, candles or similar items;
    • Recreational fires located in developed municipal, county or state-approved picnic or campground areas contained in portable or non-portable fire pits or fire grates furnished at the picnic or campground area;
    • Burning (flaring) of natural gas at the sewer treatment plant and when performed in conjunction with drilling, completion and workover operations of oil and gas wells

Full guidelines include definitions, investigation, enforcement.

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