Burn bans lifted across north state

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By GENEVIEVE

BOOKWALTER

Along with rinsing the roads and brightening up trees, the rainfall this week also washed away burn restrictions.

As of today, bans issued earlier this year by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Stanislaus National Forest no longer apply.

Chris Parker, deputy chief of CDF's law enforcement unit in Sacramento, said recent rainfall, cooler temperatures and increased humidity all influenced the agency's decision to lift the restriction.

"We had 159 days of no rain," Parker said.

In the forest, Supervisor Glenn Gottschall said, campfires will once again be allowed in the high-hazard areas.

Those generally includes spot below the 6,500-foot elevation.

However, campers staying at undeveloped sites should still acquire burn permits for fires, camp stoves or briquette barbecues in remote areas.

Although restrictions are lifted, both CDF and forest officials said burn piles or camp fires can still escape and flare out of control.

If that happens, the person who lit the burn will be held accountable for it, Parker said.

"All precautions should still be in effect," Parker said.

Anyone wanting to burn rubbish or leaves should call 533-5598 in Tuolumne County or 754-6600 in Calaveras County to ensure that the Air Pollution Control Board has approved that day for burning.

The board can still restrict fires if air quality is too bad.

People wanting to burn need a permit from CDF to light flames until fire season is declared officially over.

CDF officials said that announcement could come as early as Saturday, and encouraged potential burners to call CDF and verify if permits are necessary.

Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at gbookwalter @uniondemocrat.com .

11701377
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