Burn ban is on (but keep barbecuing)

Go ahead and keep the outdoor grill going. Campfires are okay, too. But virtually every other kind of burning in Pierce County is against the law until authorities say otherwise.
A countywide burn ban went into effect July 15 and will continue until further notice, said Warner Webb, the county fire marshal who issued the order in tandem with the Pierce County Fire Chiefs Association and the  state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Authorities call it a limited ban, which means it applies to all outdoor burning, including fires for clearing and getting rid of yard debris, but not to small recreational or camp fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or on private property. The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbecues is also allowed.
The purpose of burn bans is to help prevent accidental wildfires during dry, hot periods. That's how the weather has been recently in Pierce County, which went more than 30 days in a row without rain until some precipitation last Thursday.
Officials at South Pierce Fire and Rescue reminded the public last week that the fire district is a "wildland urban interface zone. " They asked for citizens' cooperation with the burn ban and noted that residents can make their homes and land safer from potential wildfires by following guidelines such as clearing dry brush in a 30-foot circumference around their structures.f
Additional information on a "home fire ring" is available from South Pierce Fire at http://spfr.org/Home_Fire_Ring.html.
At the end of last week, Pierce County and nearly all of western Washington were considered at "moderate" risk of wildfires, according to DNR officials. The threat was "high" in most of eastern Washington and "extreme" in two counties in that region – Franklin and Benton, officials said.
For recreational fires and camp fires in Pierce County, the rules are:  
•They must be in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not be used as debris disposal
• They can't be any larger than three feet in diameter
• They must be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure. Their must also be at least 20 feet of vertical clearance from overhanging tree branches
•They must be attended at all times. Equipment capable of extinguishing the fire, such as hand tools and a garden hose, or at least  two five-gallon buckets of water, must be readlliy available.
•No burning when wind exceeds 5 miles per hour.
In neighboring King County, a burn ban went into effect the same day as Pierce County's.


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