March 27, 2017

Burning books: still a bad idea


Don’t burn books, and definitely don’t burn books in your backyard during wildfire season.

A Florida Man started a wildfire by burning books in his backyard. No jokes here, families were evacuated, and several homes were actually destroyed. For CNN, Christine Sever, Madison Park, and Nicole Chavez report that, though only minor injuries have been reported, the fire has burned through an estimated 696 acres.

The fire started when a man was burning paperback books, said Annaleasa Winter of the Florida Forest Service, in a briefing Wednesday night.

“It was an illegal burn,” she said, adding that it’s against the law to burn household garbage in Florida. “It was paper. It got away from him.”

The man’s intention was to burn some trash, Estep told CNN.

“(It was) purely an accident,” he said.

The fire spiraled to about five acres and began spreading out of control, fueled by windy conditions, Winter said.

It was, according to CNN, “the largest and most destructive wildland fire in Nassau County since 1998.”

So look, unless you’ve got a complete set of the Bannon Canon that you’re looking to get rid of, there are lots of ways your old books can be given new life. Take them to Goodwill or your local thrift store, donate books in good shape to your local library, send them to soldiers serving overseas or recently returned home, send them to prisoners, send them to classrooms. Just please, please, no burning books, even if you’re not making a political statement, just clearing off your shelves.



Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.