Burn ban begins on schedule; rules govern fires on private land



With a burn ban in effect since Friday, the Clark County fire marshal has restricted all land-clearing and residential burning until further notice.

Such bans regularly run from July 15 through Sept. 30 in Clark and Cowlitz counties, but, in extreme fire hazard conditions, can begin sooner and end later, according to a bulletin from Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency, which operates the 911 center.

On land the state Department of Natural Resources manages, the burn ban took effect July 1.

The fire marshal also is rescinding all burning permits issued prior to the ban. Permits can be reissued or extended when the ban is lifted. These burning restrictions do not cover federally managed lands.

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

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

• Recreational fires must be in a metal, stone or masonry lined fire pit — such as those installed at improved campgrounds or available at home and garden stores.

• Fire pits may not exceed 3 feet across or 2 feet in height.

• Fires must be at least 25 feet from any 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 connected and charged water hose.

• Portable outdoor fireplaces, also known as patio fireplaces, designed to burn solid fuel (wood) should not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material and must always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Extinguish recreational fires by covering them with water or moist soil and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.

Self-contained camp stoves are a safer and easy alternative to camp fires for cooking.

For more information, call the fire marshal’s office at 360-397-2186 or visit http://www.clark.wa.gov/development/fire/burning.html.