Capital Clicks

Third person fined for burning tires in eastern Iowa

By: - March 24, 2023 4:49 pm

An excavator was used to pile tree debris and tires. (Photo courtesy of Iowa DNR)

The state has now fined three people for burning tires to accelerate a brush fire in eastern Iowa in December, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Mike Burken, of Blue Hyll Dairy near Clinton, had a nagging problem of people dumping tires on the dairy property, so those tires went to a nearby site to aid the burning of trees that were knocked down as part of a creek stabilization project, a DNR report said.

It’s illegal to burn waste tires. Their fires emit toxic chemicals and leach oil into the ground. Burken, along with two others, was fined $4,500.

Someone reported in early December that trees were being toppled and tires were being positioned among the debris to be burned in a rural area north of Clinton near the Mississippi River.

The tire burning happened on two separate days, despite a visit from a DNR officer on the first day, the DNR reported.

The person operating an excavator that was creating the burn piles said “that he thought it was legal to burn tires if they originated on the property,” according to a recent DNR administrative order.

The excavator operator has not been fined. Burken, of the dairy, Thomas Stevenson, the landowner, and Brandenburg Drainage, which was hired to take out the trees, all were fined the same amount.

Up to 30 tires were burned. Those that were not burned after the DNR intervened were removed from the property.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register.