West Richland has creative solution to tumbleweed troubles - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Richland has creative solution to tumbleweed troubles

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - Living in a desert region, tumbleweeds are just a part of life. However, one local city got creative in getting rid of them. The City of West Richland has a special trailer that has been refurbished to efficiently, safely and easily burn those pesky plants.

"Tumbleweeds are an issue out in West Richland or anywhere in the region. The wind blows and they were looking for a better way to deal with them. So the maintenance guys built a mobile tumbleweed burner and it works," said Public Works Director Roscoe Slade.

The crew certainly did get creative. They up-cycled an old jet ski trailer.

"It's got a propane weed burner that sticks into a metal box. It's got holes on the sides that aerates it. Basically they just pitchfork the tumbleweeds into it and poof, there's nothing much left," said Slade.

The City of West Richland worked with the Clean Air Authority and have had the tumbleweed trailer for 12 years now. So how did crews get rid of tumbleweeds before then?

"You'd have to load them up in a dump truck and try to compress them, tarp them so they wouldn't blow out. It was really a volume issue. Even for the residents trying to stuff them in the trash can and then there's no room for the regular garbage," said Slade.

Now the city sets up some traffic control, brings in a water truck (just in case) and fires up the tumbleweed trailer a couple times a month, weather permitting. Oftentimes, local offender crews are called in to help.

"We'll have ten or twelve of them with pitchforks pitching it in and it just rolls right along the side of the road. It's really cost effective now to get rid of tumbleweeds, get rid of the nuisance," said Slade.

The trailer is available for rent. People who live in West Richland can stop by city hall and fill out an application to reserve it. It costs about $20 a day, a few dollars in propane and you're asked to get rid of the ash left behind when you are done with the trailer.