KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — Leaf pickup programs are in full swing around the Miami Valley.

These programs vary from town to town. Some municipalities want leaves to be raked to the grassy area by the curb, while others want them raked on the street.

But the pile must only have leaves in them.

“Rake only leaves. We want loose leaves. Tree branches or grass may damage our leaf equipment,” said Brian Dahm, Dayton street maintenance division manager.

The program not only greens up your lawn space, it saves money. Dead leaves give off phosphorus and nitrogen, polluting storm water and potentially causing toxic algal blooms.

“I know this is an initiative and highly valued by our sewer maintenance division. So, we do this service in a collaboration with them to keep the sewers clean,” said Dahm.

Dry weather in the Miami Valley means the leaves on the ground are also extremely dry. With piles of them on the curb, they are a tinderbox waiting for a heat source to ignite.

“They build up. You park your car on it. Your catalytic converter gets really hot underneath the car. It’ll sit there, smolder, catch leaves on fire, and you know, short period of time later, you will have a car fire,” said Mike Long, West Carrollton fire inspector.

Dayton residents who missed their pickup time can take leaves to the Wagner Ford Green Landfill in biodegradable paper bags. Miami Valley residents can contact their local public works department with any questions.