Burning Limbs Not Viewed As Favorable
With storm debris piling ever higher, many Tulsans may look for alternative ways of getting rid of those limbs. Some disposal sites are receiving up to 60,000 cubic yards of green waste each day. News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports city leaders say they're getting a lot of questions about burning tree limbs inside the Tulsa city limits.
It is something many view as a dangerous proposition. The Tulsa Health Department says the smoke could cause a lot of problems and the Tulsa Fire Department says the flames could easily get out of hand. The fire marshal points east for an example of how quickly things could go wrong.
"Oh I said, 'Lord, help me. Please, help me. Lord please help me' and all I could do was grab the phone and call 911," said Mary Lu Gilmore of Broken Arrow.
Mary Lu Gilmore thought burning her tree limbs was the best way to get rid of them.
"The grass underneath was so brittle and dry that it just starting spreading out all directions really quickly," added Broken Arrow's Mary Lu Gilmore.
The flames jumped into her neighbors yard, and then into another and another. Three acres later firefighters had it under control.
"I am just sick that it went into my neighbors' property and I apologized that that happened. I would reverse it if I could," said Broken Arrow's Mary Lu Gilmore.
"We wouldn't want to look at a special burn arrangement that Broken Arrow has entered into," said Tulsa Fire Marshal Paul Gallahar.
Tulsa's fire marshal says allowing residents special permits to burn storm debris is a bad idea. The health department says smoke in a tight-knit city would destroy the air quality.
"That smoke can affect people who have respiratory problems, cardio-pulmonary disease," said John Baker with the Tulsa Health Department.
But, city officials say burning debris is not completely out of the question. The city of Tulsa has always allowed burn permits. But to get one, a representative from the fire department has to come to your house to make sure you meet all of the requirements.
"One of the major requirements is they have to be at least 500 feet from any occupied structure," said the health department's John Baker.
Mary Lu has her own advice.
"Make sure that the ground is wet around it and make sure the wind is not gusting," said Mary Lu Gilmore of Broken Arrow.
She hopes others learn from her and find another way to get rid of the debris.
Besides the 500 feet rule, in order to get a burn permit in Tulsa, the tree branches must have originally grown on the property and the homeowner must agree to burn only if the wind is below 10 miles an hour.