Nearly 90 percent of the Rathdrum Prairie grass fields have been burned, and growers won’t light a match again until next Tuesday.
Rathdrum Prairie farmers burned about 950 acres Wednesday, bringing them close to the end in the Coeur d’Alene area, said Linda Clovis of the Intermountain Grass Growers Association.
No burning occurred Thursday.
Under the terms of a smoke management agreement, growers don’t burn on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. Monday is a holiday, so no burning will take place.
Growers on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, meanwhile, have torched roughly 6,500 acres so far and still have about 7,300 acres to burn.
Spokane County growers are even further away from finishing. They burned about 50 acres Wednesday in north Spokane County, according to the Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority.
That leaves about 50 acres in the north end of the county, estimated Matt Holmquist of SCAPCA.
The southern portion of Spokane County, which has the largest percentage of the county’s bluegrass fields, is virtually untouched so far this burning season. A total of 10,400 acres have been permitted for burning in Spokane County this season.
But as many as two dozen growers still haven’t purchased their burning permits.
Torching Kentucky bluegrass seed fields is an annual practice. Farmers consider it the most effective method for getting rid of the straw that cannot be baled, as well as eliminating pests and disease.
The practice, however, prompts many complaints from area residents, especially those with asthma and other breathing difficulties.