Smoke visible from Willard Springs green waste burn

December 13th, 2021 at 8:04 PM

Coconino County Public Works, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest
Service (USFS), will ignite the annual green waste burn at the Willard Springs Green
Waste Station, located 17 miles south of Flagstaff at Exit 326 on the west side of
Interstate 17 (I-17), by Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The Willard Springs green waste burn is expected to produce smoke during the ignition
period, which will last approximately three weeks. Based on wind and weather
conditions, smoke may be heavy at times and visible to motorists on I-17. The Coconino
National Forest will post signage on I-17 to notify motorists about smoke and to drive
with caution.
The burn is necessary to reduce the existing stockpile of pine needles, tree trimmings,
and other green waste at Willard Springs Station before the 2022 fire season. 20,000
cubic yards of green and woody waste has been collected since April 2021, almost
double the amount of waste the station normally receives in a year. Green waste burn is
expected to smolder until the middle of January, depending on weather conditions. The
burn will be monitored by the Mormon Lake Ranger Station, Pinewood Fire Department,
and the Coconino County Public Works Solid Waste Division. Public Works Solid Waste
Division will be regularly stirring the green waste piles throughout the process to
promote a homogenous, even burn that will help to minimize smoke.
When smoke levels are high, the appropriate protective measures should be followed:
• Avoid breathing smoke. Reduce or avoid outdoor activities.
• Make sure heating units have a clean filter in the air intakes. Devices with High
Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can reduce indoor pollution.
• Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the heater in your home or car.
• Avoid activities which can increase indoor pollutants such as cooking and
vacuuming.

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