Cal Fire burn bans lifted

By Mike Morris, The Union Democrat November 21, 2013 11:30 am

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Cal Fire, has lifted its suspension on green-waste burning for Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Burning of your yard waste is only allowed at night, and permits are required. 

Cal Fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams said the burn suspension was lowered because of the recent rain. However, it’s not been enough to lift the permit requirement.

“The vegetation is still dry,” she said. 

Strong winds are expected to arrive tonight and could last into Saturday. Sunny skies with high temperatures in the low 60s are expected beginning Friday and lasting into next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Weather-related power outages were reported Wednesday from Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland to the Calaveras County communities of Murphys and Angels Camp. As of this morning, all power has been restored, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Williams said there is concern the upcoming weather pattern of wind and sun could dry out vegetation that received moisture from this week’s rains.

“Typically, we start to close stations and downsize at this time of year, but we’re not because of the weather,” she said. “We’re still in fire season. It’s not a typical year.” 

All 15 Cal Fire stations in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties remain open, and each is staffed with an engine. 

“When we get a significant weather pattern with rain, then burn permits will not be required,” Williams said. 

Until then, restricted burn hours are from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. on “permissive burn days,” which are established by each county’s Air Pollution Control District. 

Burn permits restrict the burn pile size to 4-by-4 feet with 10 feet of clearance around the pile. Permits also state that someone must remain at the fire with access to water. Also, there should not be burning on days forecast to have gusty winds, regardless if it is a “permissive” burn day or not.

In Calaveras County, burning on property five acres or larger requires an additional permit from the Air Pollution Control District. In Tuolumne County, clearing two acres or more of vegetation requires a permit from the Air Pollution Control District. 

Cal Fire permits are free, however, there is a fee for the Air Pollution Control District permits. 

To find out if it’s a burn day, call the Air Pollution Control District in Calaveras County at 754-6600 and in Tuolumne County at 533-5598. For information on where to obtain a burn permit, call 754-3831.