Residents and property and business owners are reminded that permits are required to burn within the Las Cruces city limits. These permits are only good for the day they are issued and can be picked up at any of seven City of Las Cruces fire stations. Permits will constitute permission to burn limited quantities of dry weeds or grass in accordance with sections 105.6 and 307 of the International Fire Code.
There are rules and regulations that must be followed by everyone who obtains a city burn permit. Those rules and regulations are:
- The permittee must burn only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or until 6 p.m. during the months of June, July and August.
- At all times, the permittee must be on the premises where open burning will occur and will be subject to inspection by the City’s police or fire departments.
- The fire must not be less than 50 feet from any structure and should be prevented from spreading to within 50 feet from any structure.
- The fire must be constantly attended by a competent person until fully extinguished.
- The permittee must provide a water source so the fire can be extinguished on the premises where open burning will occur.
- No burning will be conducted if there are windy conditions.
Small recreation fires and outdoor fireplaces are allowed but require constant attendance until extinguished. Section 307.5 of the International Fire Code states, “Open burning, bonfires, recreational fires and the use of portable outdoor fireplaces shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher … with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck shall be available for immediate utilization.”
Failure to comply with the rules and regulations of an open burn permit could result in a subsequent criminal complaint by the Las Cruces Fire Prevention Services. The Las Cruces Fire Department reserves the right to revoke a permit at any time.
Permits are not usually required for recreational fires and outdoor fireplaces but could be for certain weather conditions or other circumstances. Residents are urged to call Fire Prevention Services to verify if a permit is required. For information or questions regarding open burning, or to inquire about obtaining special burn permits, call Fire Prevention Services at 575/528-4150.
Also, the City’s Green Grappler service is available to pick up yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and tree branches. Those items are then taken to the Old Foothills Landfill, 555 S. Sonoma Ranch Boulevard, to be recycled into composted mulch.
There are several requirements to be eligible for Green Grappler service. Those requirements include:
- Ensuring that tree branches are less than 5 feet in length and 5 inches in diameter.
- Branches must be stacked neatly and placed at the curb.
- Grass clippings and leaves must be placed in clear plastic bags. This is so the Green Grappler driver can see it is yard waste and not trash.
Once collected, yard waste will be recycled into composted mulch, which is then given back to the community for free. Residents can pick up mulch at the Foothills Landfill.
If green waste items are not within the requirements of Green Grappler service, customers can call Solid Waste at 575/528-3700. On a case-by-case basis, the City’s Solid Waste Department will do its best to help customers dispose of material properly.
The Old Foothills Landfill accepts both clean fill and green waste. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The landfill is closed on Sunday.
Clean fill consists of materials that, when buried, will have no adverse effect on people or the environment. Clean fill materials include natural materials such as clay, soil, rock, and other inert materials.
For customer safety, the safety of landfill employees, and to keep the equipment in good operating condition, these guidelines should be followed when disposing of yard waste:
- Tree limbs may not exceed 5-feet in length or 5-inches in diameter.
- Palm trees must be less than 2-feet in length and diameter.
- No dirt please, this includes sod, dirt root balls on plants, and dirt in raked material. Dirt and rock are damaging to the chipper.
- Please take yard waste and tree leaves out of plastic bags, and dump in the pile
- No trash in the yard waste. This includes paper and plastics.
- Please check for any tools that may have been left behind.
- For yuccas call Las Cruces Solid Waste Utilities 575/528-3700 ahead of time for a case-by-case evaluation to determine the best way to dispose of this material while being mindful of the equipment.
All of the yard waste is recycled into rich, organic, composted mulch. Yard waste is chipped, ground up, piled up, watered, turned, and left in the sun to "cook" for several months to destroy weed seeds and make compost material useful for landscaping.
Compost material is available free to residents; compost is also available to commercial customers on a first come, first serve basis, in limited quantities while supplies last.
The disposal of clean fill and yard waste at the Old Foothills Landfill is free to residential customers. Commercial customers pay a rate of $3.96 per ton to dispose of clean fill and $22.70 per ton for yard waste disposal.