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Recent rains have prompted Cal Fire to lift its suspension on burning in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties effective at 8 a.m. Friday.

A suspension on burn permits has been in place until now due another historic fire season throughout California and lingering fire dangers in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, which also includes portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

People possessing current and valid burn permits can resume burning on permissible burn days after the suspension is lifted.

The most recent storm system that brought rain this week to the Mother Lode foothills and more snow at higher elevations in the Central Sierra has eased fire dangers in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Safe residential pile burning of forest debris by tenants and landowners is a crucial tool for reducing fire hazards, Cal Fire said. When weather conditions are favorable, state, federal and local land management and fire agencies will also be doing prescribed burns aimed at improving forest health on private and public lands.

Agriculture burns must be inspected by Cal Fire personnel before burning until the end of the peak fire season, which has yet to be declared by Cal Fire command staff in Sacramento. Inspections may also be required for burns other than agriculture burns.

“Property owners and residents are asked to use caution while conducting debris burns,” Cal Fire communications staff said in an announcement. “While cooler temperatures have helped to diminish the threat of wildfire, it is imperative to follow the terms of your permit which is proven to help prevent fire escapes.”

Individuals can be held civilly and/or criminally liable for allowing a fire to escape their control and/or burn onto neighboring property, Cal Fire TCU staff said.

Anybody planning to burn is responsible for checking burn day status, by calling their local Air Quality Management District. In Calaveras County call (209) 754-6600. In Tuolumne County call (209) 533-5598. In San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties call (877) 429-2876.

Cal Fire burn permits will be required until the end of fire season, which also has yet to be declared by Cal Fire command staff in Sacramento

To obtain a Cal Fire residential burn permit, visit https://burnpermit.fire.ca.gov/apply-for-a-permit/ online. Cal Fire recommends using the website to reduce in-person contacts in compliance with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Applicants will be instructed to watch a three-minute educational video, fill out an online application, and print the permit. Once signed, the permit will be valid. 

Property owners who need another way to get permits are urged to call (209) 754-3831 for help 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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