Christmas tree growers around Silverton have been burning excess trees this week, generating clouds of smoke and drawing complaints from some residents.
The fire district is telling residents that the burning is permitted by state law because the growers are considered agricultural producers.
One tree farm manager, Bob Schafer of Noble mountain Tree Farm in Salem, told Statesman Journal the trees are burned to prevent diseases and insect infestations from spreading.
Oregon is the nation’s biggest grower of Christmas trees with 65,000 acres of land in production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Oregon growers cut and sold 6.4 million Christmas trees in 2010.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com