Leaf Burning Ban

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Fall is here and as the leaves start to hit the ground, there's still some confusion about Winnebago County's new leaf burning ban. We're still a couple of weeks away from crunching around in leaves and pulling out the rakes, but confusion about the ban in already in the air.

The leaves are just starting to fall but citizens are already calling Winnebago County board member Polly Berg with concerns about the county's leaf burning ban.

"Because October is almost upon us it doesn't mean that they can burn in October because the open burning ban is in effect all year round," says Polly.

The ban, which took effect last April, doesn't apply to several towns within the county, to farmers or ag use, and to add to the confusion, county board members will vote on an amendment on October 9 to exempt residents with just one acre of farm land from the ban. This proposal doesn't sit well with supporters of the ban.

"It's really easier just to say across the board that none of the residents in the community can burn. It just makes it simple and unified and doesn't discriminate against one resident versus another," says Lori Gummow.

Residents are also voicing concerns about what to do with all the leaves. The county is looking at alternatives to banning but money is tight.

"It would be too costly in the first place and we have no way to charge an individual," Polly Berg adds.

For now, Berg recommends that residents compost, mulch or bag their leaves. She says the county is looking at a low-cost county wide waste removal system for residents, but nothing will be in place for this season. The fine for violating the ordinance is $100.