Burn ban? No problem, no smoke, if you have a ‘burn box’

CINDY COLLINS loves the view from her mid-valley orchards, and works to keep valley air clean.

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CINDY COLLINS loves the view from her mid-valley orchards, and works to keep valley air clean.

Hood River valley grower Cindy Collins is featured in a United States Department of Agriculture blog post by Tracy Robillard the Natural Resources Conservation District on July 20. It reads in part:

Like her neighbors, Cindy believes in preserving the beauty and vitality of the Hood River Valley. That’s why she’s teaming up with 20 fruit growers to adopt cleaner ways to operate their orchards.

Made available by an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, the ‘burn box’ recirculates smoke, nearly eliminating all smoke and particulate matter.

The burn box was purchased in 2014 with a Conservation Innovation Grant funded by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, in partnership with the Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers and Hood River County.

The burn box produces almost no smoke and significantly reduces the amount of airborne particulates. In 2015 alone, Hood River fruit growers eliminated about 1.35 tons of particulate matter from entering the air by using burn boxes instead of open-pile burning.

“A fan recirculates the smoke, so the particulate matter burns, then re-burns,” said Carly Heron, NRCS district conservationist. “So everything is being cleanly burned, and there’s no smoke, no particulate matter, nothing being released to the air—just like a really clean EPA-burning wood stove.”

“The burn box lets us burn during summer months, when normally there’s a ban,” Cindy said. “It’s a useful tool. It burns really clean.”

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