YERINGTON - Concerns with what residents are placing in their household burn barrels have county officials looking at establishing their own enforcement guidelines.
Mason Valley Fire Protection District Chief Steve Tognoli says the county needs to have the ability to regulate the burning of objects causing noxious and offensive odors.
Appearing before Lyon County Commissioners last week, he said, "The issue is air quality, not fire safety. It is not of how people are burning, but what they are burning. We need to establish what can go in burn barrels."
Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill noted that the issue is already addressed in state codes and as a Smith Valley resident does not want a county ordinance governing all areas of the county. She suggested each of the four county fire departments set their own policies.
"Why do we need to duplicate what the state already has if no one is enforcing it?" Hunewill asked. "Smith Valley does not want this adopted. We are a very rural area. It would be very difficult to have one ordinance govern all areas of the county."
Tognoli said state codes are not clear on local enforcement authority.
Commissioner David Fulstone agreed something needs to be done to give the county the tools to enforce burning regulations.
"Burn barrels are a problem. There is nothing worse than having someone's garbage smoke blowing through your house. It's a problem the county needs to deal with," he said.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit the open burning of any plastics, rubber, paint, fiberglass, petroleum products, vehicles or materials from vehicles, treated lumber or timbers and railroad ties.
A public hearing on the proposed ordinance has been set for the Sept. 7 commission meeting.