Four people have been criminally cited for alleged illegal debris burns in Sonora and Calaveras County in the past week, staff with the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit said Friday.
Lindy Shoff, a resource management secretary and information officer with the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, said all four citations were for misdemeanor crimes. The individuals who were cited were not identified by Cal Fire.
As of Friday, firefighters with the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit had responded to eight debris fires since May 5, and five of those were determined to be illegal debris burns, Shoff said. Three of the debris fires were in compliance with burn permit requirements.
Starting with the most recent incident, here’s a breakdown of the five alleged illegal debris burns from Cal Fire TCU staff:
+ At 12:57 p.m. Thursday, TCU personnel located an escaped debris burn on Joshua Way in Sonora that almost burned a homeowner’s vehicle. TCU staff said the burn pile “did not have clearance and the owner was not in attendance.” A citation was issued for violating terms of a burn permit and for allowing a fire to escape.
+ At 2:27 p.m. Wednesday, TCU personnel responded to a reported wildland fire on Blue Mountain Road in Wilseyville. The fire burned about a 10 foot by 20 foot patch of vegetation. TCU staff said the cause was “an escaped debris burn with no responsible person in attendance.” Shoff said that since the individual who ignited what became the escaped burn could not be located, no citation was issued.
+ At 12:34 p.m. Wednesday, TCU personnel responded to a debris burn on South Burson Road in Valley Springs. TCU staff said an individual at the scene was responsible for the burn and that individual was allegedly “burning an oversize burn pile without a burn permit.” A citation was issued for burning without a burn permit.
+ At 11:16 a.m. Tuesday, TCU personnel responded to a reported wildland fire on Cheyenne Road in Copperopolis. The fire burned about a half acre of grass. TCU staff said the cause was “an escaped debris burn due to a lack of clearance around the pile.” A citation was issued for violating terms of a burn permit and for allowing a fire to escape.
+ At 12:40 p.m. last Saturday, TCU personnel responded to a debris burn on Sun Road in the Mountain Ranch area. TCU staff said the fire consisted of “multiple oversize burn piles.” A citation was issued for violating terms of a burn permit.
Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit firefighters also assisted Linden-Peters Fire District and Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District on a spot fire and a structure fire in the past week, Shoff said. Staff with Linden-Peters and Calaveras Consolidated were not available to provide details of those incidents, including whatever caused those fires. Linden-Peters FD is in San Joaquin County, and Calaveras Consolidated FPD covers the northwest corner of Calaveras County.
Cal Fire TCU staff urge people to make sure they get permits before they burn and to follow all the terms on the permit. Anyone doing a permitted burn must maintain 10 feet of clearance around the burn pile, keep the pile size to a maximum 4-foot diameter, keep somebody there at the burn all the time, and keep a shovel and water supply at hand.
In addition, Cal Fire TCU staff said north winds of 5 to 15 miles per hour are predicted Friday and Saturday this week.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.