COARSEGOLD — “Just because it’s a burn day doesn’t mean it’s safe to burn.” It’s a warning given often by fire officials, but not necessarily heeded by residents.
Firefighters responded today to yet another escaped burn pile, this one just outside Yosemite Lakes Park on Road 400 near Garnet Creek Lane.
At about 2:20 p.m., crews were dispatched to the area, and Madera County Fire Engine 8 was first at scene, reporting the fire at about half-an-acre.
The fire was contained by 2:47 p.m., and all resources not already at scene were called off.
Firefighters in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit have responded to escaped control burns every day this past week, and on some days there have been as many as three.
Burn days are determined by the San Joaquin Valley Air Control District, and are based on air quality, not on moisture content of the fuels or the fire danger in your specific area.
Residents need to understand the distinction between permissible burn days from the Air District, and a burn ban implemented by Cal Fire due to dangerous fire conditions.
Perhaps we can all agree that the time for safe debris burning has passed for this season, and not wait for Cal Fire to issue a ban. Those piles will still be there in the fall, when the rains have come and conditions are safe.
Though there has been a lot of precipitation this winter, that only means there is more grass, therefore more fuel. A fire that started near Los Banos yesterday moved very quickly and burned 1,800 acres before it was contained.