Land clearing and residential burning has been banned starting this week for the dry season, as fire officials are forecasting conditions with a greater-than-usual chance for fires.
Clark County Fire Marshall John Dunaway made the announcement in a county news release last week that starting June 17 certain types of burning would be banned. Though outdoor burning is generally banned from July 15 through Sept. 30 each year, for 2019 conditions call for an earlier prohibition.
“Clark and the surrounding counties have been in regular communication with the Washington state Department of Natural Resources, DNR, and the U.S. Forest Service over the past several weeks regarding the weather patterns and wildfire fuel conditions,” Dunaway stated in the release. “Due to the low moisture content in the wildfire fuels coupled with the extended forecast calling for normal to above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation, we are in agreement that the ban should be implemented earlier this year.”
The Pacific Cascade Region of the U.S. Department of Natural Resources has also changed the wildfire danger rating to “moderate” for Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties which bans debris burning on DNR-protected lands, the release noted, adding the burn permits have been suspended until the fire risk subsides.
“In effect, all debris burning is prohibited on DNR protected lands and fire district protected lands in these three counties until further notice,” the release noted.
Recreational campfires will still be allowed if built in improved fire pits in designated campgrounds, such as commercial campgrounds and local, county and state parks, the release noted. Recreational fires are permitted on private land when built according to the following regulations:
•Recreational fires must be in metal-, stone- or masonry-lined fire pits in improved campgrounds or purchased from home and garden stores.
•Size may not exceed 3 feet in diameter by 2 feet in height.
•Fires must be at least 25 feet from a structure or other combustible material and have at least 20 feet of clearance from overhead fuels such as tree limbs, patio covers or carports.
•Fires must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16 years old with the ability and tools to extinguish the fire. Tools include a shovel and either five gallons of water or a water hose connected and working.
•Portable outdoor fireplaces, also known as patio fireplaces, should not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. They must always be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
•Completely extinguish recreational fires by covering them with water or moist soil and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.
For more information, contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at (564) 397-2186.