Autumn is just around the corner, and soon trees will be shedding their leaves, forcing homeowners to once again grab their rakes and leaf blowers in an attempt to restore order, just in time for snow to fall. Some of those homeowners will, as people have for generations, try to burn those leaves to dispose of them.
In a word: don't.
It's not just that leaf burning leads to air pollution and potential health problems for people with asthma, COPD, and other respiratory ailments. It's not just that they produce carbon monoxide, a potentially lethal chemical that can kill if not vented properly.No, burning leaves can create a monstrous fire hazard, as light leaves are carried by wind to areas with ready tinder. It's no wonder that many communities have banned the practice.
Besides, why would you burn leaves, when you can use them as a base for a terrific compost? Leaves are full of the nutrients that plants crave, and if composted properly, they create great fertilizer for your lawn or garden.
Even if you don't want to compost, it's still best to dispose of your leaves properly. After all, the recent wildfires have shown the danger of an errant spark; no matter how romantic, a leaf fire isn't worth the risk of destruction.