When I was a boy growing up in the same area I still live in one of the signs of autumn was the smell of burning leaves. People would rake the leaves from their lawns and yards, pile them and set them ablaze. Great smell, wonderful compost, but not necessarily the brightest thing to do from a fire prevention point of view. More often leaves were left at the side of the road and picked up by the city. They were then burned in the municipal incinerator, back in the days when garbage was also dealt with in the incinerator. Many larger apartment buildings had incinerators of their own; tenants dropped their trash down a chute and every so often the janitor fired up the incinerator and viola, no more garbage. Of course today we no longer have incinerators, municipal or private. We wash our garbage and recycle it.
A recent stroll around my neighborhood revealed bit of a problem when it comes to the disposal of leaves. The city has a program in place to pick up and compost leaves that citizens have raked and packed. The fly in the problem is than many people seem to have missed the caveat that for the city to pick up the bags of leaves, they must be in paper bags. Not plastic. As I walked I did a bit of research and I would estimate that plastic bags of leaves on lawns outnumber the acceptable paper by about 10 to 1!! Either the message did not get out, or it was ignored.
I believe there was a time when the city would have solved the problem by having employees dump the plastic-bagged leaves into other receptacles. However after years of attrition and contracting there are no employees to carry out such a task. Instead it is downloaded to the citizens.