A fire burns up a hill near Helper a few summers ago after a residents trash fire got out of control.
Spring is here and so is the smoke, and where's there's smoke ...
It's the time of year when Carbon County residents begin to clean up their yards and desire to burn weeds, branches and leaves.
Recently, the local fire departments have seen a large influx of calls requesting information on open burning.
Many fires are caused by individuals who didn't take proper precautions to prevent the spread of their controlled burning efforts.
Fortunately there haven't been any fatalities involving open burning for several years.
However some of the fires have caused thousands of dollars in damage and resulted in costly citations.
Most cities within the county have ordinances regulating open burning within their city limits. In order to maintain uniformity and comply with state and federal regulations, the county fire chiefs have set the time frame of March 17 through April 30 as the open burning season for those municipalities which allow burning.
Detailed rules governing open burning can be obtained from each local fire department or from that towns city offices.
The following is a list of cities and some general guidelines for the various cities in Carbon County:
*Price City. With only a few exceptions, no open burning is allowed within the Price City limits. Residents are encouraged to utilize the county landfill on Airport Road.
*Helper City. Permits are required and can be obtained from the Helper Police Department on Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The permits are free and are good for three days, but they must be obtained before any burning can be done.
*Wellington City - Permits are required and can be obtained by residents 18 years of age and older from the Wellington City offices on regular business days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The permits are free and are only valid for one day, but they must be obtained before any burning can be done.
*East Carbon City - Permits are required and can be obtained by residents 18 years of age and older from the East Carbon City offices on regular business days between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The permits are free and are only valid for two days, but they must be obtained before any burning can be done.
*Sunnyside City - Permits are required and can be obtained from the Sunnyside City offices on regular business days between 8 a.m. And 4 p.m. The permits are free, but they must be obtained before any burning can be done.
*Scofield City -Due to the mountainous terrain and proximity to forest service property in Scofield, their open burn season differs from the rest of the county. Contact the Scofield City at (435) 448-9221 for more information.
Unincorporated Areas of Carbon County are governed by County Ordinance 415, which regulates open burning in the unincorporated areas of Carbon County.
The ordinance basically states that there is no burning during the closed season, that a permit must be obtained before burning during the burn season and that the person applying for the permit must be 18 years of age or older.
A burn permit can be applied for by calling the public safety dispatcher and giving the location on which the burn is to take place, and describing the items to he burned. The public safety dispatcher is authorized to grant a burn permit by giving an incident number over the phone which serves as the burn permit number as well.
A burn permit is only valid on the day it is issued. Permits are issued based on a number of factors. They can be denied when the Air Quality Index, which is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, indicates unsafe conditions for burning, or in the event the Carbon County Sheriff, emergency services director, or the Carbon County fire warden deem burning unsafe. The public safety dispatcher shall not be required to issue a permit if in his discretion there is concern regarding the safety of the burn.
The dispatcher may also require an inspection of the burn site at his/her discretion, and may request further investigation into the burn by the County Fire Warden, Carbon County sheriff, or emergency services director.
These officials may also direct the termination of the burn in the event that the burn is deemed unsafe or a threat to the health and welfare of the residents of Carbon County or their property. The permittee must at all times comply with all state and federal laws regulating burning. There is no cost connected with obtaining a permit.
A person who has obtained an open burn permit during the open burn season may engage in open burning subject to some restrictions.
*All burning shall be done during daylight hours and no fire shall be allowed to burn within one hour before official sunset.
*Only weeds, tree branches, leaves, plants, or yard trimmings shall he burned.
*The permittee shall have the necessary equipment on hand to extinguish the fire in the event the permittee cannot control the fire.
*The permittee shall immediately notify the proper authorities if the fire can no longer be controlled by the permittee.
*All burning must he done at least 50 feet from any other structure.
*Burn piles shall be no greater than six feet in diameter and four feet in height and the permittee must attend the fire at all times.
*Burning shall cease in the event wind is over 10 m.p.h. The permittee must also have the burn permit number with him at all times during the burn, and must ensure the extinguishment of the fire.
*The burning shall not take place in any location where smoke will obscure any county, state or federal roads.
*The public safety dispatcher may place additional conditions on the permittee to ensure the safety of the burn as directed by county and state officials.
Any violation of this ordinance shall be a Class C misdemeanor. A permit shall not he issued to an individual who has been cited under this ordinance more than 2 times without the permission of county officials.
State law allows open burning only when atmospheric conditions allow, (Air Clearing Index above 500) and the county dispatcher has this information, which is updated daily. This information can also be obtained from the National Weather Service. A link to its Web site can be found at the Price City Fire Department's Web site at www.priceutah.net.
"We encourage all individuals who engage in open burning to follow the guidelines outlined in County Ordinance # 415," said Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont.
"Remember, individuals are responsible for any fires the start and could be held criminally and civilly liable for fire suppression costs any damages which occur as a result of their burning."
The county's fire chiefs remind residents that the EPA forbids the burning of garbage, buildings or construction refuse in Carbon County without a permit from the Utah Department of Air Quality. These permits can take a substantial time to obtain and can be costly, therefore residents are encouraged to use the Carbon County landfill, which is an EPA approved facility.
The open burn season for the county is from Nov. 1 to May 30 each year, while the closed season includes June 1 through Oct. 31.
For more information, call the local fire department.