While recent rains have been a welcome sight, drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region prompted Cal Fire, as of June 17, to suspend all permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Madera, Mariposa and Merced Counties.
The suspension bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris like branches and leaves.
“The rains did help, but with the increased fire activity, temperatures and winds, we must be vigilant in protection of the citizens and land from a wildland fire, especially among the millions of dead and dying trees,” said Nancy Koerperich, Cal Fire Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit Chief.
“As conditions across California are drying out further we must take every step to prevent new wildfires from sparking,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director. “Residents must ensure they have defensible space by removing dead trees and overgrown vegetation from around their homes, but do so safely.”
Since Jan. 1, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 2,100 wildfires that have burned more than 32,000 acres. In the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU), firefighters have responded to 150 wildfires.
While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, Cal Fire is asking residents to ensure they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home.
Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:
* Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.
* Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants.
* Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris, like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy facility.
The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety.
Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a Cal Fire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.
The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is located in an area open to the public, and the fire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations and online at PreventWildfireCA.org.
Cal Fire recommends that all Mountain Area residents have an evacuation plan and know what they will do if forced to evacuate.
For additional information on how to create defensible space, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.