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Crop Burning: What's The Right Way?

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By Joey Martin

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Harvest season is over.

Now, farmers are left with crop residue.

Most farmers get rid of the waste by burning it.

As Joey Martin for Idaho's First News explains– there are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind when you burn.

That's this week's Grow Southern Idaho.

Wildfire season is over, but it’s not uncommon to see black plumes of smoke this time of year.

That's because farmers are burning the waste harvest season left behind.

Tami Aslett is an Air Quality Specialist.

She says the Department of Environment Quality has a program in place to help farmers, and keep the public safe.


"The crop residue burning program is burning any vegetated material that's left on the field after harvest. Out program enables growers to burn under certain conditions while protecting the public from smoke impacts."
Said Tami Aslett, Air Quality Specialist for the Twin Falls Department for Environmental Quality.

More than 100 area farmers participate in the program.

Aslett says the qualification process is simple.

"First there's the initial part of getting all of their information together, figuring out where their fields are. That state office goes and takes that and they look at the fields and plot them on a map so they can kind of see if there in 3–miles of a school, hospital, assisted living– nursing home... and that's what we consider a sensitive population."
Said Aslett.

Farmers must complete grower training to get signed up.

The DEQ also charges two dollars an acre, and only allows farmers to burn on certain days.

This helps the department monitor the amount of hazardous fumes and smoke going into the air.

"We monitor for smoke and smoke dispersion. So we evaluate the particulate matter and also the ozone."
Said Aslett

"The DEQ handles all of the county burning.

When it comes to burning inside city limits…

It's up to the fire department to handle how leaves and weeds are burned."

"The rules with the burning permit requires that you burn only thing grown on the property. Its prohibited to burn garbage, any sort of waste, dimensional lumber… things like that, petroleum products… anything like that."
Said Twin Falls Fire Department Captain, Devin Slagel.

Protecting the public and environment while at the same time prepping fields for next spring's growing season.

For more information on the DEQ Residue Burning Program.

Log onto www.DEQ.IDAHO.GOV

Or contact the local office at 736-2190.

For burning permits inside city limits.

Stop by the local fire department in your city.