Ridge, Maryland — Falling leaves are often the first sign of a change of seasons. A common disposal method is to burn them.
Community ordinances regarding open burning may allow you to burn garden waste, grass clippings, fallen leaves, etc. If outdoor fires are permitted, install them only where they can be contained.
Try an outdoor chimenia, brazier, fire barrel, or fire pit, being careful not to overload. Do not use flammable liquids to ignite debris. Make sure there are no combustible materials within 3 feet of the fire. Never leave the fire unattended and be ready to extinguish it at all times. Sparks can splash onto surrounding foliage and grass and spread rapidly.
Always keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby to extinguish accidental flames.
It is also important to keep the roof clear of leaves and other debris. This prevents sparks, power lines, or lightning from igniting your roof.
Safer alternatives to burning leaves include:
• Recycle. Tree branches, grass clippings, leaves, and brushes can be composted, mulched, or chipped into landscaping materials.
• Schedule a pickup. Many cities and towns have curbside collection of bagged leaves, but there are limits to what can be collected. Check with your local public works department.
• Call a yard trash and junk removal service. They take the rubble to a landfill or recycling center.
After the bonfire is finished, extinguish the fire with plenty of water and stir in the ashes. Add water and keep stirring until everything is cool.
Do not throw ashes or embers in the trash until the next day. Instead, collect it in a special metal bucket for ash and leave it outside overnight.
Water again in the morning before throwing the ash in the trash.
Finally, when burning leaves, you may be tempted to throw trash such as household waste, construction debris, and waste paper into a pile.
Fallen leaves and grass clippings can be disposed of by burning, but be careful as burning garbage can lead to unexpected explosions and release of toxic fumes.