County ban on outdoor burning begins July 15

Unincorporated areas affected by restriction that runs through Sept.

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Clark County has scheduled a ban on all outdoor burning that will begin Friday, July 15. All residential burning and land-clearing fires will be prohibited until further notice.

Also, the Clark County Fire Marshal is rescinding all burning permits during the ban that have already been issued. Permits can be reissued or extended when the ban is lifted.

This is a burn ban for unincorporated areas, Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway said.

“The cities are their own jurisdiction, but outdoor burning has been banned in urban growth areas, including cities, for some time now,” he said. “Southwest Clean Air (Agency) enforces that part of it.”

In an effort to have predictable and consistent burn ban dates, Clark and Cowlitz counties implemented a policy to ban burning annually from July 15 through Sept. 30. In extreme fire hazard conditions, the ban can begin sooner or end later.

“Over the years, we have attempted to implement burn bans only when the conditions became extremely hazardous. The dates were never consistent,” Dunaway said. “Talking with the area fire chiefs, we thought it would be better from a public education standpoint to implement the burn ban at the same time each year so that citizens could plan their burning activities during those safer times of the year. Doing this has resulted in better compliance because it’s expected by the public.”

He advised people to contact the Fire Marshal’s Office to be sure the ban has been lifted before resuming burning after Sept. 30. Call 360-397-2186 or go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/development/fire/burning.html.

Recreational campfires on forestlands are allowed only if built in improved fire pits in designated campgrounds, such as commercial campgrounds and local, county and state parks.

On private land, recreational fires are permitted when built according to the following regulations:

• Recreational fires must be in a metal, stone or masonry lined fire pit such as those in improved campgrounds or available at 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 (including a shovel and either five gallons of water or a charged water hose).

• Portable outdoor fireplaces, also known as patio fireplaces, designed to burn wood should not be used within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.

• Extinguish fires with water or moist soil and stir with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.

Self-contained camp stoves are a safe alternative to campfires, the news release added.

The state Department of Natural Resources implemented a burn ban on July 1 for its property.