Fire Marshal imposes ban on debris burning
Vancouver, Wash. – Due to the weather forecast for the rest of this week, Clark County is joining Skamania and Cowlitz counties in imposing a temporary ban on outdoor land clearing and residential burning effective at midnight tonight, May 9. Conditions will be assessed on Monday morning to determine if the ban should be lifted or left in place for a longer period of time.
The weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 80’s and possibly 90 degrees, with low humidity and gusty winds.
“This is a precautionary move to prevent a controlled fire from escaping,” said Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway. “You might remember in March when several controlled fires in southwest Washington escaped, keeping fire crews very busy. This is indicative of the abnormally dry conditions we have and will continue to worsen as the season progresses. We don’t want a repeat performance of those escaped fires.” Dunaway also said that the amount of moisture in wildfire fuels is at a level not normally seen this early in the season.
All burning permits issued in Clark County are cancelled, including the permits that are available online. Permits can be reissued or extended when this temporary ban is lifted. Do not resume burning without checking the county website at www.clark.wa.gov/community-development/outdoor-burning. The current status of outdoor burning will be posted on that page.
These burning restrictions do not apply to federally managed lands.
At the same time, the Pacific Cascade Region of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, DNR, is changing the fire danger rating in the three counties to MODERATE. Both permitted and rule burning are only allowed at LOW fire danger levels. Permits that have been issued are not valid until the fire danger subsides. Check the website https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ for any changes in restrictions on DNR protected lands. In effect, all debris burning is prohibited on DNR and fire district protected lands in the three counties.
Recreational campfires are still allowed 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 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.
Self-contained camp stoves are a safe and easy alternative to camp fires for cooking.
For more information, please contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 360.397.2186 or visit the county’s website at www.clark.wa.gov/development/fire/burning.html.