After another wet winter and above average snowpack, warming temperatures and winds are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region prompts CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of San Diego and Imperial counties, according to a CAL FIRE press release. This suspension takes effect June 3 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.
“Last year was a devastating reminder that the public cannot let their guard down. Together, we must adapt and evolve to be able to withstand the intensity of these fires, keeping in mind that the only way to mitigate the damage they cause is through preparation,” said Chief Thom Porter, CAL FIRE director in the release. “The dry, hot weather that fueled the massive fires last year will return again this year, so it is up to the public to be ready.”
Since January 1, CAL FIRE and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 950 wildfires. While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, CAL FIRE is asking residents to take the extra time to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home and building on their property and being prepared to evacuate if the time comes.
The release said the department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.
The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property, according to the report. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained so as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.