CAMINO — The Amador-El Dorado-Sacramento-Alpine Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reminds everyone that dooryard burn permits are required starting Sunday, May 1.
These permits are issued to the public free of charge, are valid for three years from the date of issuance and allows for the burning of dry vegetation (not household trash) that originates on the landowners property.
Unit Chief Kelly Keenan encourages everyone to get an early start and begin disposing of all the vegetation (tree branches, shrubs and weeds) now when it is safe to burn the piles of vegetation versus later in the year when burning debris piles can escape. He said, “We still have a lot of extra vegetation (fuel) all over the county from the very destructive December 2009 storms and if we don’t continue to aggressively dispose of this fuel, come summer our wildfires will have the potential of becoming catastrophic. It is estimated that in some areas there is 33 percent more fuel on the ground than in past years from this single storm.
“Last year 23 percent of our wildland fires in Amador and El Dorado counties were from burning debris piles that escaped the control of the person in charge. To reduce your risk of starting a wildfire, begin disposing of your vegetation now when it is safe to burn your piles,” he continued. “Keep your pile(s) to 4 feet by 4 feet in size, scrape a 10-foot-wide ring around each debris pile down to bare dirt, have a shovel and water supply (charged hose) nearby to use in the event your fire escapes from the pile and make sure an adult is in attendance until the pile is completely extinguished. Remember, you can only burn on ‘permissive burn days’ so don’t forget to call your local Air Quality Management District immediately prior to lighting your pile(s). For Amador County please call (209) 223-6246 and for El Dorado County call (530) 621-5897.”
Pick up your free burn permit at most of the local staffed fire stations. Don’t forget that the use of burn barrels is no longer legal in El Dorado or Amador counties.
For tips on burning your debris piles safely or other fire safety topics visit fire.ca.gov for fact sheets. For alternatives to burning your piles visit the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council site at edcfiresafe.org for details on their available programs.