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OXNARD : Farming Firm Gets OK to Burn Trees

An Oxnard farming operation will be allowed to burn an estimated 1,200 tons of dried out orange trees from its property under a special agreement with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, officials said.

Western Berry Farms, a farming company whose fields are located near the corner of Rice Avenue and 5th Street, was preparing to burn all of the trees but agreed to burn only a smaller portion each day over the next three weeks in order to cut down on air pollution, said Kent Field, a meteorologist with the air pollution control district.

The agreement, struck between the grower, the district and the Ventura County Fire Department, stipulates that Western Berry officials will call the district each morning to secure permission to burn an estimated four to five piles later that day. All 1,200 tons is expected to be consumed by the end of the month, Field said.

Whether or not permission is granted for the company to burn the materials is based on daily atmospheric and smog conditions, Field said. On heavy smog days, the farm operator would be asked not to burn the trees. Field said the agreement was an example of cooperation between the farming company and government in that the grower has the legal right to burn field materials.

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Field said that because the former trees are so dried out, they will burn hotter and emit less smoke. The agreement between the district also calls for the burns to occur only in the afternoon hours after daily onshore winds begin.


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