Backyard Trash Burning Torches Eight Acres in California

Firefighters battling a fire in California
It took 12 Fire Departments 10-1/2 hours to contain the CA wildfire. Images courtesy of

(Aug, 2012) Burning your own trash isn’t a good idea, and here’s one example why: A small campfire fueled by household trash on a property in Boulder Creek, CA accidentally grew out of control last weekend, burning nearly eight acres of forest area. To add insult to injury, the trash-burning campfire was located on an illegal marijuana farm. The property owners and tenants now find themselves in some deep doo-doo.

This CA wildfire shows how a small fire can grow out of control before you know it. In this case, the fire pit was only four-feet in diameter, but the problem was its location. It was situated too close to trees and redwood duff.

Burning trash is still relatively common in rural areas across the U.S. despite the fact trash services are available in nearly every part of the country. It’s a dangerous practice, as the wildfire in CA demonstrates. You never know how the stuff in your trash can is going to react to a flame. Didn’t your Mom always tell you that “when you play with fire, you get burnt”?

The EPA points out other safety hazards associated with burning household garbage. The process of burning trash creates chemicals called dioxins, which are highly toxic to humans and wildlife. Exposure to dioxins can increase the risk of heart disease, aggravate asthma and cause a slew of other symptoms. Airborne dioxins also land on area crops and waterways polluting our food and water sources.

Backyard trash burning not only puts the environment at risk, but it also affects our health. Burning household waste isn’t all bad when done safely. Many waste-to-energy plants are popping up across the country, and these facilities have the capabilities to burn trash safely and convert it to energy.

Furthermore, the dioxins and other toxins created during the process are filtered before entering the environment. Living in one of the few remaining areas of the U.S. yet to have trash hauling service doesn’t mean you have to resort to backyard trash burning.

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