Helper fire chief outlines controlled burn, permit guidelines
|Utah faces another drought year, accompanied by the increased fire dangers associated with severely dry conditions. Fire officials remind Carbon County residents to comply with the guidelines and exercise caution when burning debris, brush and ditch banks in preparation for the spring season.|
Utah, as a state, faces another drought year along with increased fire dangers due to severely dry conditions and Carbon County is no exception.
With local residents gearing up to clear debris, brush and ditch banks prior to the spring season, fire officials remind citizens to follow the guidelines and use caution while burning any material.
Currently, the only city to require a burn permit is Helper. All other residents in unincorporated areas must check in at the local dispatch center before burning.
Helper citizens who reside in the areas from the Blue Cut to the Port of Entry must contact Fire Chief Mike Zamantakis or the city offices prior to burning in order to obtain a permit. The burn permit area also includes Spring Glen and Kenilworth.
Helper permit requirements state that any person who wants to burn during the open season within the boundaries of Helper or the boundaries of Carbon County covered by contractual agreement by Helper city must first obtain authorization to burn by purchasing a burn permit.
Permits are required when tree limbs, brush, range, grass, grain, stubble, hay land, fence lines, cultivated lands, canals or irrigation ditches are to be burned.
"The reason that we require permits is not to make money, but to make sure that residents are aware of the dangers of burning during a drought year," explained Zamantakis.
"By issuing permits, we will be able to educate the public about the dangers of open burning. Residents must realize that they are responsible for any and all damage they may cause by burning. A permit only clarifies this," added the fire chief.
Although a permit will cost the a nominal fee, it is required by the city and violators will be ticketed with a class B misdemeanor.
"The permits give us a chance to have more control on any situation which may arise. By signing a permit, the resident authorizes that they are responsible for the damage they cause. It is important for residents to know that they just can't walk away from a fire," pointed out Zamantakis.
After obtaining a proper permit, Helper residents will be able to burn anytime during a two week period. After this time, a second permit must then be obtained.
"Burn permits also allows fire agencies to keep track of reported fires. This way we know if a fire is called into dispatch whether it is a controlled burn or one which requires the fire crew to respond to," explained the Helper fire chief.
Along with obtaining permits, residents are required to phone the dispatch center to notify emergency officials when controlled burns will take place.
The rule holds true for all residents in the county, even those who are not required to obtain permits.
Residents must call the public safety dispatch center after the burn is completely extinguished.
Currently, Helper and the surrounding areas are the only locales requiring burn permits.
Until the county fire warden determines otherwise, all other residents in the Carbon area will be able to check in at dispatch only.
"Usually, the closed burn season runs from June 1 to Oct. 1. This is the time when a ban on all fires in the county take effect. With the drought season upon us once again, these dates might change, but residents will be notified prior to the burn season changes," concluded the chief.
Residents should take proper precautions to prevent a disaster from happening. A controlled burn should never be left unattended and proper equipment should always be nearby in case a fire accidently spreads. With dry conditions, fires may spread rapidly and there is no time for error.