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      Burning leaves could burn a hole in your wallet

      The state of Iowa has been under a fire hazard warning for the past week due to high winds and low humidity. Conditions like this are ideal for ordinary small fires to become a much bigger problem.

      Because of this, officials with local governments all across Iowa are asking residents not to burn leaves, being that the fire could get out of control, fast. If someone were to start a fire to burn yard debris such as leaves, and then that fire grew out of control, the damage to your property and the fines that followed could be very steep.

      To avoid all of these hazards, there are programs in which residents can dispose of their yard waste properly without even having to light a match.

      On Wednesday afternoon, KTVO spoke with Jody Gates, Director of the Ottumwa Health Department. Gates informed us about a couple of programs residents can use to dispose of their leaves properly

      "Ottumwa residents have a couple of options; they can either but the Ottumwa/Wapello yard waste bags and then put these at the curb. Those bags would then be collected by Bridge City Sanitation. Or, they can take leaves to the recycling center, or to the landfill. You can just use plastic bags if you are going to take them to the landfill or recycling center because you are not going to leave the bags their, said Gates.

      Gates informed KTVO that there is a cost of using the yard waste bag, which is $1. There is not charge for taking your leaves to the recycling center of the landfill.

      The health department also encourages people not to burn, not only for safety reasons, but for health reasons as well.

      "We encourage people not to burn. We think that we have enough options for folks to be able to get rid of their debris at no charge, or pay a little bit and get rid of it curbside. Also, it is better if you don't burn. We have a lot of people with allergies and other breathing problems, some might be in your neighborhood, so just be a good neighbor," said Gates.

      If you have any questions on how to purchase a yard waste bag, you can contact the Ottumwa Health Department at (641) 683-0650 or Bridge City Sanitation at (641) 682-8118.