Following any type of a natural disaster it is common for residents to want to resume normal life as quickly as possible. For many in the Salem area this means getting the broken limbs and other unsightly debris removed from their yards. Unfortunately, when doing so, there are some rules that need to be followed in respect to the manner in which to dispose of the brush and other debris.
The fastest way to dispose of wood debris is to burn it on the spot, but Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said that due to environmental concerns by the Arkansas Department of Air Quality (ADAW) regarding smoke and potentially decreased air quality, burning is not an option within the city limits.
Although Salem Police Chief Albert Roork said there will be no arrests for burning, citizens are asked not to burn their debris, but rather to stack it at the road. They should take care to make sure it isn't in the road.
Willett said the city currently has five contractors picking up brush and limbs and taking them to a licensed site for disposal.
By looking down the streets of Salem, the massive damages are self-evident, for this reason, there is no time limit on when the debris must be at the road. Willett says that there is so much to haul that the crews will be making countless trips, so if they miss you once, they will be back. If the debris is at the road, crews will pick it up as soon as they can get to it but patience is very important due to the huge demand for removal. There are other options for disposal if waiting is not the option you prefer.
The judge says that small amounts can be taken to the compost pile by the county shop and a staging area at Carpenter's Recycling has also been set up for those who wish to haul their own debris.
Residents who do not live in the city limits and are in rural areas may burn their brush and limbs in the daytime only. They must first call the judge's office. The goal is to prevent hundreds of simultaneous fires that could potentially affect the air quality.
In addition to the concerns residents may have over disposal, there have also been rumors circulating regarding FEMA reimbursements.
Willett's office has had numerous calls from persons inquiring about FEMA reimbursements for generators and chain saws, as well as money for assistance with services such as tree trimming. Willett wants to stress that these rumors are absolutely false and that although the area has been qualified as a disaster area, it has not been officially declared. He also stated that "We are still in an emergency situation." The judge said that if there are people who can absolutely not get out of a rural area that water can be delivered, but that this service is limited only to those with no other way to get water.
Mammoth Spring is still in the process of getting state approval in setting up a staging area for the storm debris.
Exhibiting patience and obeying rules will make this process go more smoothly for everyone, according to Judge Willett.