Vineyard Debris

As grape growers and vineyard managers prepare to burn vineyard debris, authorities are stressing extra caution and awareness in the wake of the October wildfires.

J.L. Sousa, Register

Burning vines without smoke

Piles of vines lie in wait, slowly drying after having been carefully removed and stacked, with all treated wood and plastic pulled and as little dirt and organic material left clinging to the vines as possible.

This is all in an effort by Napa’s grape growers and vineyard managers to minimize the amount of smoke the piles let off when they are finally burned.

That is, if the grape growers and vineyard managers are doing it right, according to guidelines for smokeless burns being promoted by Napa County and the local grape growing industry.

Because, smokeless burn advocates contend, when the guidelines are neglected, scenes occur like the one in Yountville on the windy morning of Monday, Dec. 4.

As a burn took place northeast of town, smoke began to waft into nearby residential areas. “Our switchboards were just lit up that morning,” Town Manager Steven Rogers recounted.

“Especially coming off of the fires,” Rogers said, “we just felt that that showed an incredible level of insensitivity on the part of the ag producer.”

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