TOPEKA (KSNT) – Fall is here and that means many Topekans have yards full of leaves. Burning them off may seem like an easier option than bagging them up, but doing this could land you in legal trouble.

Rosie Nichols with the City of Topeka said anyone looking to burn things in the city limits should consult the Open Burning Policy. Here, you can find a long list of items not approved for burning in the city limits.

This list contains many items which common sense would indicate you shouldn’t be burning such as plastics, tires, asbestos materials, trash and dead animals. However, the list includes more than just hazardous materials. Things like grass clippings, leaves and paper are also on the list.

“Leaves are not approved to be burned, even with a permit,” Nichols said in an email. “If an individual is found to be burning leaves, their permit for burning can be revoked or they can receive a citation resulting in a fine of up to $499 or up to six months in jail, as laid out in Topeka Municipal Code 8.45.020.”

Instead of burning your leaves, or throwing them away, you can try putting them in a compost heap. Kansas State University’s Cynthia Domenghini, a horticulture expert, recommends shredding leaves with a mower first and collecting them in a mower bag. The leaves can then be placed directly into planters, left on the lawn or used as mulch around trees.

For more information on obtaining burn permits and other regulations on burning in city limits, click here.

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