Burn permits suspended

By Zoë Strickland, Staff Writer, , May 7, 2021

Because of the extraordinary dry conditions caused by the drought and the danger of fires, Cal Fire has suspended residential burn permits and banned outdoor burning of landscape debris starting May 10.

CalFire announced May 5 that it would be suspending burn permits, banning all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris, such as branches and leaves, in the state responsibility areas in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties, effective May 10.

A map of state responsibility areas can be found HERE — the responsibility areas generally include areas where CalFire is the primary emergency response agency responsible for fire suppression. Incorporated cities, for example, are not in the state responsibility area.

The suspension of burn permits is happening earlier this year than it has in years past, signaling increased fire threat throughout the region. Last year, CalFire suspended burn permits beginning on June 15. In 2019, burn permits were suspended on June 17.

“Last year, California experienced its most destructive fire season in the state’s known history. Together, we must continue to adapt and evolve to be able to withstand the intensity of these fires, keeping in mind that the only way to minimize the damage they cause is through education, prevention and mitigation efforts,” said Chief Thom Porter, CalFire director, in a statement. “We are relying on the public to be ready.”

According to CalFire public information officer Will Powers, CalFire firefighters have responded to 1,788 wildfires across the state since Jan. 1.

California is entering its second consecutive dry year, bracing for the possibility of yet another devastating wildfire season, Powers said in a CalFire press release, with the state’s wildfire season beginning earlier and extending later with each year.

“Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire,” Powers stated.

According to CalFire, the department may issue temporary burning permits if there’s an essential reason to do so, due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training and other industrial-type burning can continue if a CalFire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.

The suspension of burn permits does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if they are maintained in a manner that prevents its spread to wildland. Campfire permits and safety measures can be found here: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prevent-wildfire/campfire-safety/.