MARIPOSA – After another wet winter, 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 is prompting Cal Fire to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Madera, Mariposa and Merced.
This suspension takes effect Monday, June 18, and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.
“This year is turning out to be just as volatile as last year. The public cannot let their guard down and must continue to be involved in preparation efforts for the upcoming wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director. “Again, this year the abundant dead grass will only serve as a fuse to the heavier vegetation still suffering the lasting effects of over five years of drought.”
“In 2017 we saw extreme devastation in the counties of Mariposa and Madera due to numerous fires including Detwiler, Railroad and Mission,” says Unit Chief Nancy Koerperich. “2018 is already proving to be equally challenging for fire fighters with high temperatures and low humidites. Suspending burning assists the fire department with a decreased potential for a large and damaging wildland fire.”
Since Jan. 1, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have already responded to 2,397 wildfires. While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, Cal Fire is asking residents to take that 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.
Here are some 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 www.ReadyForWildfire.org.