Drought causes late burn season

Feb 5, 2014 6:11 PM

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

But actually seeing rice fields a blaze this time a year is very unusual for the North State.

“Burn season is usually done after the first significant rain,” said Ian Ledbetter, an Air Pollution Specialist II for the Glenn County Air Pollution Control District. “We’re typically done around late October early November.”

But because there hasn't been any rain of significance lately, local farmers are burning much later in the year.

“It would be wet and mud in the fields instead of dry and out here burning,” said Jerry Corriea, owner of J. Corriea & Son Ranch. “We should still be on vacation.”

It costs about $30-$40 per acre to disc and a much more to flood land, so burning is actually a much cheaper option. And that extra savings should come in handy during such a tough economic time.

“You got to have a crop to make any money,” Corriea said. “And if you don’t farm anything it’s like not having a job; you don’t’ get a paycheck.”

And if local farmers don't get some rain soon, many don't know if they will be able to farm next year.


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