Smoke, like that visible Tuesday morning in northeast Durango, is expected on and off for the next three weeks as farmers burn last year’s grass growth in ditches to prepare for irrigation season.
Durango Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Karola Hanks said the lack of lower-elevation snowpack has grasses burning more quickly this year, and that is producing a lot of smoke.
Crews from DFPD are aware of the fires and are assisting and watching the burns, she said.
Agricultural fires are exempt from the need to obtain burn permits. However, agricultural fires are allowed only for in-production activities such as burning ditches and fields. Farmers can’t use burns to get rid of trash, wood or other debris not involved in agricultural production, Hanks said.
“Farmers are preparing for water to come into ditches, and you’re going to see quite a few ag burns in the coming weeks,” she said. “They’re getting ditches ready for that nice clean flow of water they need for production.”