At our 6th Annual Air Quality Forum on February 11, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Citizens for Clean Air, Mesa County announced that they were changing their open burning regulations to follow the lead of the City of Grand Junction.

This was welcome news for the entire Grand Valley, for Citizens for Clean Air, and for anyone who has respiratory problems that worsen during open burning seasons. The Mesa County Board of Health has the ability to label open burning as a “nuisance” that affects air quality, and to regulate those types of “nuisances” that are detrimental to health.

Citizens for Clean applauds the Mesa County Health Department and Board of Health for taking this action, which will have a significant impact on our air quality in Mesa County.

The new regulations mean that properties in both the City and Mesa County that are less than one acre in size may not burn. The exception if for properties maintaining irrigation ditches and canals that run through their property. Those properties over one acre will need to purchase an open burning permit, and certain materials cannot be burned at all. These include leaves, trash and limbs over one inch in diameter.  The Mesa County burn seasons are one month longer than the City, but otherwise the regulations are very similar.

The link to the new regulations can be found here:

Agricultural burning is regulated at the state level, but those owning agricultural land must still obtain a burn permit from Mesa County, although there is no fee for the permit.  Agricultural burning is allowed by the state year round.

Alternatives to burning are composting, using leaves for mulch, taking leaves to the Mesa County landfill, and using cover crops instead of burning fields.