There’s no need to start fires in what are often windy conditions and your neighbors will enjoy not having to breathe smoke-filled air.

There’s no need to start fires in what are often windy conditions and your neighbors will enjoy not having to breathe smoke-filled air.

Instead of burning your fallen leaves, utilize the city of Neosho’s leaf collection program, which gets under way Wednesday.

“All the folks need to do, if they live in the city limits, is to rake their leaves to the edge of the curb and wait for city employees to come by and vacuum them up,” Neosho’s public relations and events coordinator Wes Franklin said. “It’ll take them about 21 business days which is into December.”

Franklin said crews will begin on the east side of town and then move westward. An approximate schedule is listed within this story.

“It’s just a free service offered by the city of Neosho to the residents at this time of year,” he said. “While burning is allowed, it isn’t always necessarily the best thing to do, or the wisest thing to do, especially if you have a lot of leaves in Neosho.”

He revealed that if your pile of leaves is larger than three cubic feet, it is illegal to burn within the city limits without a permit.

“As many trees as we have in Neosho, there will be a lot of times where the pile is definitely over three foot,” he said. “You don’t want to have to go through all the trouble of getting a fire permit and you don’t want to burn illegally. This is an alternative, it’s another option for you.”

Franklin warns to not rake leaves near catch basins, culvert pipes or into ditches, which can cause severe flooding problems in the event of heavy rain. He said the leaves should be raked into loose piles near the edge of the curb, but not in the street, which can cause problems for both motorists and pedestrians.

He said no leaves containing branches, brush, grass clippings, animal waste or other debris will be picked up. Franklin urged residents not to mulch their leaves if they wish for them to be picked up by city crews.

“A lot of people, they’ll mulch their leaves with their mowers,” he said. “They have those bags on their mowers and then they’ll just dump the bags on the curb. We just ask them not to do that. The reason being that — the big truck they use to vacuum up the leaves — there’s a cage that goes over it, and if they mulch the leaves, all the little bits of leaves blow out through the cage. Plus, it’s difficult to vacuum up the little bitty pieces of leaf.”

He said the schedule is estimated and anticipates that if weather does not set them back that city crews will actually move quicker than the schedule. After the first pass through the city is complete, Franklin said crews will come through again. If anyone gets missed, they can call the public works department to retrieve those leaves.

“It’s just pretty much a service offered during the fall so we don’t have the little 100 different fires burning in Neosho at the same time,” he said.

The tentative schedule for the leaf pickup program — subject to weather and other factors — is as follows:

• Nov. 5-10: From Shartel Drive west to KCS Railway, and from Daugherty Road north to East Spring Street;

• Nov.11-19: From KCS Railway west to Valley Street/Oak Ridge Drive, and from U.S. Highway 60 north to Coler Street;

• Nov. 20-26: From Valley Street/Oak Ridge Drive west to Kodiak Road, and from Rocketdyne Road north to Coler Street;

• Nov. 27-Dec. 3: From College Street west to Ravenwood Circle, and from Coler Street  north to Jefferson Avenue.

All time frames are approximate.