burning leaves?

SquirrelBallsOO(z6 PA)November 12, 2005

im really sick of people burning leaves in their yards. is there any law against this in pennsylvania? the smell is sickening even with my windows closed tight i can still smell it.

theres a cloud of smoke above my neighborhood

is this legal?

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You would have to check with your municipality. I live in Broomall, Marple Township, and we have a ban on leaf burning. I was the person responsible for initiating it and went around with a petition. Some signers of the petition had had their property set on fire by the neighbor's burning pile of leaves!
Some still break the law and burn! It's a terrible thing to do to anyone with allergic asthma or any chronic lung/heart problem, since the air becomes loaded with particulates which are so tiny they travel inside homes with closed windows. I remember wheezing and coughing in the middle of the night due to it. It was incredibly thoughtless for some to cause others to be ill and need medication! I was also aware of a woman dying from an asthma attack during the burning season!
There is really no good excuse for it. Composting , or even running over the leaves with a mower will take care of the leaf litter. Leaf burning is the destruction of a great resource, and a hazard to public health.

I requested the school nurse to attend our town meeting, plus I had someone from the American Lung Association forward information. A local physician also testified at the meeting. The school nurse made note that 25% of all school absences were asthma related.

Ever notice the person burning leaves doesn't stand down wind of it? No wonder!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 2:51PM
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nancycon(zone 5 W. PA)

I was away all day today and when I drove down my street I noticed a visiable haze that stretched 1/4 of a mile. There in the yard was the culprit standing in the direction of the grey billow of burning leaves !!!!! Don't they realizes that if there's smoke that the fire isn't really burning just smoking??? I also was angry cause I left a newly washed blanket on the clothesline.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 7:56PM
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garden_grammie(SE Pa.)

There is a ban on all leaf burning in my township in Chester County. How terrible that you have to put up with the smell and hase. Call your township. I bet it is illegal.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 4:31PM
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Although our township of West Bradford strongly encourages composting, they still allow burning, with the restriction of burning IN a container. The monsters across the street from us used to burn, but haven't in years thank goodness. I think anyone that does burn, has a visit from the Fire company, thanks to neighbors who phone in and complain. One visit from them I think is enough for most people, who henceforth change their habits. We are getting increasingly populated, and I imagine some day in the near future, that it will go to prohibited.

Good for you Carol!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 8:18PM
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Leaf burning is allowed in my township, but the fire department must be notified in advance. as a master gardener I wish we could educate people that there are better ways to deal with leaves.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 3:00PM
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It depends on the township, I believe (perhaps the county for some counties).

I live in Bucks, and I know it is prohibited in Lower Bucks, but in some of Central and Upper Bucks it is allowed.

I like the smell. Hehe, I wish my neighbors burned leaves.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 10:57AM
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The end result of composting is the wonderful black organic matter. My township gives access to gardeners to pick up the composted material.
What logic is there to burning leaves? They burn at a low temperature so pollution is high, the wonderful organic matter is gone, and there is a health and safety issue.
A gardening friend of mine lost many mature trees when her neighbor burned leaves which got out of control. All those mature trees were gone! I've known of many instances of this sort of problem. A quick change in the wind can be unexpected.
Another problem here in southeastern PA is thermal inversion which traps all the pollutants. Ever notice those foggy days in autumn? Prior to the ban on burning leaves here, it was treacherous driving on some days. The air was thick with smoke.
I don't think it's appealing to smell burning leaves on your clean laundry - sheets, towels ,etc hanging on the clothesline!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 11:38AM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

I was driving home from Gettysburg yesterday, and sometimes the road was enveloped in the smoke of the burning leaves in the valleys to the west.

You could see it for miles, lying still in a horizontal plane...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 11:40AM
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My township in De County allows 1 day per month to burn. We try to keep the house closed up on that day, to minimize allergic reactions, and keep the smell out of the house. I think most do it because it's less work than bagging or composting (or at least that's what they think), and there does seem to be a "macho" element to it, as it's mostly men who preside over the fires in our neighborhood.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 12:44PM
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I too like the smell, but the sentimental reasons for burning do not outweigh the cost. Besides the haze and the allergic reactions in some folks, it is a shame to have all that organic matter be wasted. I burn a handful on weekends (almost literally just a handful), but the rest get mowed. I have one friend who used to burn, then a drought burned his lawn brown. After several years of mowing them into his lawn, he can see the difference in the dry years. He lives in a neighborhood where manicuring a lawn is a way of life, and his neighbors still bag the leaves and send them to the dump. That practice ought to be outlawed too.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 12:04PM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

I don't know, after listening to the distant whine of leaf blowers all weekend long, I'd rather smell burning leaves. The houses are far apart on my street, but we've got three new neighbors a few tenths of a mile away who had all of the fallen leaves blown out of the wooded areas on their properties this year. A pointless endeavor (why struggle to grow grass there?), and it makes such an annoying racket. I'm glad my immediate neighbors are sensible and let the leaves decompose peacefully.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 1:27PM
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