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Letters: Reminder of Burning Ordinance
Where There's Smoke, There's Ire
November 9, 2015

ith autumn, leaves fall and we humans rake them up. Many load them up and take them – along with branches and limbs – to the yard waste drop-off at the Oriental water plant. That’s the the dumpster that as of a year ago, the Town of Oriental started providing to its residents. Not everyone takes that route to Gilgo Road, though. Some still light their yard waste — and more — afire in their yards. The smoke and smell and particulates rising from the fire do not remain in the burner’s yard. Which got readers to write in:

Dear TownDock Editor,

I agree with the letter writers about the annoyance and health issues concerning the burning of yard debris and particularly leaves.

If you have a mower, which should be equipped with a mulching blade, run the mover over them and they will mostly disappear while feeding the lawn or pile them up in a corner of the yard and let them compost. There have also been studies that have found leaving (no pun intended) them on the lawn does not hurt anything and can actually help protect your lawn from the ravages of winter.

I believe that Oriental’s population is a little too dense to allow open burning. If someone burning does not obey the laws previously outlined on TownDock, call town hall and complain. In addition, yard debris of any type cannot be placed in the trash containers for disposal, as it is illegal to landfill them under North Carolina law.

Joe Valinoti
Oriental, NC

Hello TownDock Editor,

It’s that time of year again when I sit out on my deck…uh oh, cough, hack, bleck…and my next-door neighbor starts burning their yard waste. Argh.

It’s a good thing I don’t have asthma or other respiratory ailments, which when mixed with smoke can be deadly. For me it’s just mainly annoying and a bit concerning as my neighbor’s open ground fire was started after 3p and is much less than 100 feet from a “structure”.

Please read Chapter C, Article 1, Section 2 of the Code of General Ordinances regarding yard waste burning in Oriental, before striking the first match.

Thank you so much.

Fresh air breather,

Steve Polk,

Here is Oriental’s burning ordinance, with highlights:

a) Yard waste consisting of leaves, tree branches or yard trimmings originating
on the premises of private residences and burned on those premises may be burned provided that they are: 1) Burned in a sturdy metal container with a wire screen over the top to
prevent embers from escaping, and at least 50 feet from the
nearest structure, or; 2) Burned in an open fire at least one 100 feet from the nearest

b) No salt treated wood, rubber, synthetic materials, or any other material which would violate EPA air quality regulations may be burned.

c) The burn must be attended at all times by a responsible person.

d) A charged hose or other adequate source of water must be at the burn site.

e) Initial burning shall begin between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and
no combustible material shall be added to the fire between 5:00 p.m. and
7:00 a.m. the following day.

f) No burning can take place on days when wind speed is greater than ten miles
per hour (10 mph) or when conditions are considered “extremely dry” as
determined by the North Carolina Forestry Department.

g) Smoke from fires causing a nuisance to others must be extinguished.

h) A burn permit must be obtained from an agent of the North Carolina Forestry
i) No fire shall be lit on any street, sidewalk or road right-of-way.

You may download a pdf of Oriental’s one-page fire ordinance, in its entirety, here.

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