• Fall open burning season is underway through Oct. 31 in Mesa County.
  • Residents need to purchase a permit to burn yard waste. Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade, Clifton and Loma residents should get permits from their local fire departments. All others should contact the Mesa County Health Department.
  • If you have a permit, it is OK to burn agricultural debris, dry weeds, garden debris and tree, shrub or brush trimmings less than one inch in diameter. Recreational bonfires using untreated wood for fuel are also OK and  do not require a permit.
  • It is NEVER OK to burn leaves, grass trimmings, limbs greater than one inch in diameter, garbage or household trash, construction or demolition waste, rubber, plastic, waste petroleum or other materials that release toxic smoke, even if you have a permit.
  • Consider composting. Instead of burning, yard waste can be taken to the Mesa County Organic Materials composting facility
  • Always check health.mesacounty.us/environment/air for Air Watch Alerts before burning, even if you have a permit.
  • Harvest season is upon us and many Mesa County residents will begin canning vegetables from their gardens.
  • Home-canned vegetables are the most common cause of botulism outbreaks in the U.S.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, there were 116 outbreaks of foodborne botulism reported to the CDC. Thirty-eight percent of those tied to home-prepared foods were linked to home-canned vegetables.
  • Use these canning techniques to avoid getting sick:
    • Use a pressure canner or cooker and follow all specified home-canning processing times for safe home-canning of all foods.
      • Pay special attention to the processing times for low-acid vegetables, like green beans, carrots and corn.
    • Discard all swollen, gassy or spoiled canned foods.
      • Use rubber gloves and place the food or can in a sealable bag, then wrap another plastic bag around the sealed bag and tape it shut.
      • Place bags in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash outside of the home, away from humans and pets.
      • Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least two minutes after handling food or containers that may be contaminated.
    • Boil home-processed, low-acid canned foods for 10 minutes before serving.
      • For higher altitudes, add one minute for each 1,000 feet of elevation.
    • Consult the USDA Complete Guide to Home-Canning before you can each season.
For more information, visit health.mesacounty.us.