The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has suspended burn permits for outdoor residential burning in Calaveras County, effective June 17 at 8 a.m. It bans outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.

A wet winter, above-average snow pack, warming temperatures and winds are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region pose an increasing fire danger.

“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. “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.”

“It is essential that residents remain prepared,” said Chief Josh White, Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit Chief. “While the suspension of residential debris burning is in effect, I encourage property owners to use alternative disposal methods.”

Since Jan. 1, 2019, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 1,171 wildfires. While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, Cal Fire is asking residents to take the necessary precautions to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires. Those include 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.

Tips to help prepare homes and property

-Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.

-Landscape with fire resistant plants and non-flammable ground cover.

-Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility.

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. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.

For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, on how to be prepared for wildfires, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit ReadyForWildfire.org.

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