New ‘air curtain burner’ for clearing debris, vegetation tested in Paradise

The method for clearing vegetation will release less smoke into the air

  • Left to right, Andrew Guidi, Rick Hunter and Jay Hawkeswood observe the curtain burner during a 24-hour test run Thursday in Paradise. If the test is successful, the machine, donated by Cal Fire, will be used for clearing needs on the Paradise ridge. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • A backhoe scoops up material Thursday to burn in the air curtain burner during a test run in Paradise. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • The air curtain burner burns materials Thursday in Chico. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • The curtain burner burns materials Thursday in Paradise. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • Andrew Guidi, left, and Rick Hunter observe the curtain burner during a 24-hour test run Thursday in Paradise. If the test is successful, the machine, donated by Cal Fire, will be used for clearing needs on the Paradise ridge. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • Materials are dropped into the curtain burner on Thursday in Paradise. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

  • Materials are dropped into the curtain burner Thursday in Paradise. (Carin Dorghalli — Enterprise-Record)

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PARADISE — A new method for clearing vegetation in Paradise with less waste was tested on the ridge Thursday.

The machine, called an air curtain burner, is designed to destroy debris and vegetation while releasing less smoke into the atmosphere. It’s designed to burn green waste using a curtain of air over the burnt material to hold in air particulates and smoke, according to Operations Manager Andrew Guidi of Northern Recycling and Waste Services.

The company was contracted by the town to test out the burner after Cal Fire donated it. Rick Carhartt of Cal Fire-Butte County said the burner is to be tested for 24 hours by the company, at Clark Road and American Way, to see if it is working properly.

Guidi said this is the first time his company has used this type of machine. The burner was first transported to Paradise at about 6:45 a.m., after which “it took a few hours to really get it hot,” Guidi said.

“It’s kicking pretty good,” he said. “I would say it’s burnt maybe 100, 120 yards (of material). I would expect it to get through much more throughout the night.”

The burner will be tested until 8 or 9 a.m. Friday. The company will then report back to the town how efficient the machine burns material as well as estimated costs, and if it could work for current clearing needs in Paradise.

“It will be up to the town to see if it’s a long term, feasible solution,” Guidi said.

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