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April 6, 2013

Illegal burning a threat to air quality

GREENVILLE — Brush and unpainted lumber are the only things that can legally be burned in Texas, according to the Texas Commission on Environment Commission (TCEQ).

Also, wind speeds cannot exceed 23 mph and cannot be less than six mph.

Even though Hunt County has lifted its burn ban, Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill said he wants to constantly remind residents on proper burning methods.

According to Hill, he has given talks to both citizens and government employees on proper burning methods and safety tips.

“If you are burning, it has to be down-wind of sensitive receptors,” he said. “That includes people with breathing problems, or people who don’t like the smell of smoke.”

Hill said some people still won’t heed his warnings.

Hill listed an example of a resident who he had visited one month before, who did not listen.

“He was burning everything he could that was illegal,” he said. “His neighbor had breathing problems and called us about it. We were out there one month before because of an illegal burn he was doing. He even had my card I gave him on his refrigerator.”

Newer furniture and household items are made from synthetic materials that when burned, give off dangerous gasses into the air, lowering the air quality in the area.

Some people stil balk at the burning standards Texas has, but according to Hill, the standards are needed to keep Hunt County residents safe and healthy.

“We want to keep the air quality better than our surrounding counties so it can help our economic development,” Hill said. “It’s all about breathing clean air.”

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