The Town of Lovell is asking the Wyoming Dept. of Environmental Quality to ease up on the restricted open burning program for this spring and allow weekend and summertime burning.
Citing a concern expressed by Lovell Elementary School about smoke getting into the school on burning days, the DEQ Air Quality Division acted in late February to severely restrict the town’s spring open burning period, granting a setback waiver for only Easter Weekend – March 29-April 2 – and then from June 1-23.
In a letter dated Thursday, March 21, Mayor Bruce Morrison made a request to Greg Meeker of the Air Quality Division that the DEQ also allow burning on weekends during April and May and extend open burning through the months of July and August, returning to weekends only in September, October and November.
Morrison said the town would continue to follow the town’s Vegetative Material Open Burning Procedures previously approved by the DEQ.
He also noted the safeguards already in place for those impacted by the burning.
“We want you to know the elementary school is our school and no one cares about our children and wants to protect them more than we do,” Morrison wrote. “The safeguards provided in our originally approved Open Burning Procedures plan provide that needed protection. The time restrictions you are imposing have the potential to condense smoke into those few days and may lead to more problems.
“We have been working with you on open burning, trying different periods of time and monitoring it for many years. It has been proven that the extended period of time is the most beneficial for all of our citizens (children included). This provides for the least amount of smoke in the air at any one time and still allows our citizens the flexibility to clean up their yards when it fits into their schedules.”
Morrison assured Meeker that the town takes action quickly when a concern about smoke is expressed.
“We assure you we act upon any concern or complaint immediately,” he said. “Our dispatch immediately sends out an officer and the problem is taken care of. We take the health and welfare of our children and every citizen very seriously. Our current plan is effective and works to safeguard our people.
“Please allow us the opportunity to be the stewards to the community as we were elected to do. We can and will make any adjustments necessary to resolve our citizens’ concerns. We appreciate your oversight and concerns but feel we have a more complete understanding of these local issues and would appreciate the opportunity to resolve them locally.”
The letter was mailed Friday, and Town Clerk/Treasurer Valerie Beal said the town had not received a response as of Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Easter weekend open burning period will continue as scheduled Friday through Tuesday with no school during those five days. People wishing to burn must call the dispatch center at 548-2215 to obtain permission to burn. Burning can be conducted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a two-hour burn-down period until 6 p.m.
Citizens living west of Shoshone Avenue may burn on odd days – Friday, Sunday and Monday this weekend. Citizens living east of Shoshone may burn on even days – Saturday and Tuesday this weekend.
By David Peck