Burn barrels will be banned

March 07, 2002 12:00 am

By MIKE JENSEN

California air officials have adopted statewide regulations banning some yard debris burning including burn barrels popular in the foothills.

But the ban doesnt go into effect for nearly two years and Tuolumne Countys supervisors could ask for an exemption from part of the new regulation.

The rule was adopted by the state Air Resources Board last month and goes into effect in January 2004. It calls for a ban on burning household garbage, paper, cardboard and wood materials. The rule also bans burn barrels.

Garbage burning is already banned in Tuolumne County but paper, cardboard and unstained wood can currently be burned. The county Board of Supervisors which also acts as the Tuolumne County Air Pollution Control Board could request exemption from the new rule for paper and cardboard, but not for wood.

Yard debris and plant trimmings will still be allowed in burn piles under the new rule.

State Environmental Protection Agency officials say bleach and dyes used in paper and cardboard create poisons that can linger in the environment for up to 15 years.

Burn barrels are being banned because they have the potential to conceal burning of garbage that might produce air pollutants, such as plastic, say EPA officials. The low temperature in burn barrels during combustion also helps to create air pollutants, they say.

Tuolumne County Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer Bill Sandman said the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors could adopt a resolution asking for an exemption from the new regulation.

In postal ZIP code areas with less than three people per square mile, an automatic exemption is allowed. In areas with between three and 10 people per square mile, counties can request exemptions.