By JESSE BURKHARDT
Bingen may soon be joining White Salmon in prohibiting all outdoor burning within the city limits.
It's generally the case that no outdoor burning is allowed in the summer months due to the increased risk of fires. But now, the council is considering whether to make the burning ban permanent -- a move taken by the city of White Salmon in 2000.
At the March 17 Bingen City Council meeting, the council members began discussions about whether an outdoor burning ban makes sense.
There would be several exceptions: The ban would not apply to cooking fires or outdoor barbecue grills, for example.
Bingen City Council member Laura Mann said she supported halting burning.
"I think we should do the ban," said Mann.
Council member Clinton Bryan said he wanted citizens to have some options for disposing of yard and lawn debris.
"I don't have a problem with a burning ban, but if we have an alterative to burning, it would be a lot better," Bryan said. "It's easier if we tell them, `there is no burning, but here's an alternative.'"
Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel pointed out that the brush chipping service that had been part of the county's recycling center near Bingen Point was dropped due to costs a couple years ago.
"We used to have an alternative to burning," explained Prigel.
Prigel pointed out that the city could not afford to haul lawn debris away as trash.
"It would cost us a fortune to haul it and dispose of it," Prigel explained.
Prigel said the city would draw up an ordinance for the council members to review.
"We will draft a burn ban ordnance, and also explore alternatives," Prigel said.
The next meeting of the Bingen City Council will be on April 7, beginning at 7 p.m. at Bingen City Hall.