Fire warden outlines policies, open burn season guidelines
Fire is one of man's earliest discoveries. But many Utahns and Castle Valley residents still do not follow common sense practices when using fire.
"There's just a lot of things people don't use common sense on when it comes to dealing with fire," indicates Carbon-Emery County fire warden Rudy Sandoval. "Each spring, fire departments wonder what is going to happen because people use fire inappropriately."
Because common sense is frequently lacking, the state and local municipalities have had to establish rules for outdoor fires.
The guidelines include designating certain times of the year when people can legally conduct outside burns. The times are called "burning windows."
However, one city in the Carbon County does not allow any outside burning - Price. But the unincorporated areas as well as several municipalities allow outside use of fire under certain circumstances.
In 2004, Helper, Wellington, East Carbon and Sunnyside have chosen April 15 through May 15, a window of 30 days, to allow burning within the cities' limits. Permits will be issued for a 48-hour period and only day time burning will be allowed. The fire departments in the cities have the permits as well as the rules and regulations residents should follow for outside burning.
In the unincorporated areas of the county, residents do not need to obtain permits. But, residents need to contact public safety dispatch at 637-0890 before proceeding with the projects.
After being advised of the controlled burn activities, the dispatch center can keep emergency personnel informed of the fires planned in the unincorporated areas.
The county allows citizens to burn leaves, ditch banks, branches and vegetable matter in unincorporated areas. But the county prohibits the burning of trash.
As of last Friday, all outside burning in Carbon County will end June 1 when the fire season closes until Oct. 31. People wishing to burn during the designated time period must obtain prior permission from Sandoval.
"The state can extend or advance the closed fire season depending on conditions," points out Sandoval.
The state can make the decisions because wet or dry conditions have a direct bearing on when or where people can burn.
According to Sandoval, local residents should take several factors into account during the open burn window:
First, people should properly prepare burn sites.
Residents should have the resources available to control the burns in case the fires get out of control. The resources include water, a hose or a bucket, a shovel and a rake.
For large controlled burns, a fire line should be plowed around the sites.
Large fields should be separated into smaller plots for burning. In addition, residents should burn one of the smaller areas at a time.
Also, it is requisite that people attend to controlled burns at all times until the fires are extinguished.
Second, people should not overlook common sense due to time constraints when burning debris.
For example, people should not forget about dry conditions or the wind.
A classic incident can occur when an individual starts a field fire and then leaves to complete a different project.
A fire can get out of control very quickly, especially if the wind is blowing.
Even a slight breeze can create conditions that will result in a fire that moves much more quickly than it would with no wind at all.
"With the recent wet weather, as things start to dry out, the growth will increase which creates a much larger fire danger," explains Sandoval. "We certainly need the moisture, but it also increases the dangers of range fires, particularly later in the summer."
For answers to questions about legal burning or information on obtaining permits after the open fire season closes, Carbon County residents may contact Sandoval at 650-0114.