Cal Fire suspends all outdoor burn permits

Due to increasing danger of fires from dead grass and hotter, drier conditions, Cal Fire announced in a release Thursday afternoon that all burn permits for outdoor residential burning will be suspended in Madera, Mariposa, and Merced counties, starting July 1.

“We are asking that residents not be lulled into a false sense of security on the heels of an exceptionally wet winter,” Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said. “The abundant dead grass will only serve as a fuse to the heavier vegetation still suffering the lasting effects of 5 years of extreme drought.”

“We are grateful for the rain received this year and the relief it has provided for drought stricken areas, however it has brought more challenges,” said Nancy Koerperich, chief of Cal Fire’s Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit. “Tall grasses, thick vegetation, and tree mortality will only add to the intensity and rate of spread of a wildfire.”

Since Jan. 1 of this year, Cal Fire and firefighters across California have responded to 2,135 wildfires.

With outdoor burning not allowed past July 1, maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around a home remains of utmost importance, Cal Fire officials said.

Some tips to achieve those goals, provided by Cal Fire, were:

Clear all dead and dying vegetation 100 feet from all structures.

Landscape with fire resistant or drought tolerant plants.

Find alternative ways to dispose of landscaping debris, such as chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility.

Cal Fire may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason for public health and safety.

The suspension of burn permits does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds, or on private property. Sierra National Forest officials also announced Thursday that campfires will be allowed for the Fourth of July weekend.

A campfire permit can be obtained at Mountain Area fire stations or at www.preventwildfireca.org.

For additional information on creating defensible space and other wildfire prevention tips, visit www.readyforwildfire.org.