A prescribed burn at Hambro Forest Products over several days created smoky conditions that annoyed at least one nearby resident, but air quality management officials say the company had a permit.
Hambro spent roughly a week burning some green waste that hadn’t been composted, company president Wes White said.
“The wind changes directions here quite a bit, but today is the last day,” White said Thursday. “We’re not happy about what we’re doing, but we needed to get it done.”
The burn created a large plume of white smoke that could be seen from downtown Crescent City and U.S. Highway 101. Closer to the site of the company’s former particle board plant, the smoke hung in the air, creating a shroud over nearby buildings and trees.
The North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District issued Hambro a burn permit that authorized it to burn one pile of debris, said Brian Wilson, deputy air pollution control officer. It appears the company may have burned more than one pile, and Wilson said the
Hambro representatives met with district staff and Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield about two months ago to discuss the burn plans, Wilson said. Hambro’s burn permit also required the company to have a smoke management plan in place, he said. Before any burning could happen, the company was required to call every day for authorization to burn and make sure smoky conditions for nearby residents were minimal.
“In this case we’re still trying to gather the facts,” Wilson said Thursday. “We had one inspector go out yesterday.”
Nancy Plummer, who lives about a mile from the Hambro plant, said the smoke was so bad she asked the air quality management inspector to shut down the burn. The smoke reached the beach near Enderts Road and her home on Sea Shore Drive.
“We noticed it for the last week or so,” Plummer said. “We’ve noticed times where our garage has these weird smells and it’s just smoky.”
None of the material Hambro intended to burn came from the remains of its particle board plant, which was consumed by fire last October, Wilson said.
North Coast residents need a permit for open burning year-round. Burns can only occur on a “permissive burn day,” days with wind conditions that don’t allow the smoke to blanket the area.
For more information on burn permits, visit the district’s website at www.