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As summer approaches, Cal Fire suspends burn permits in region because of fire risk

Cal Fire San Diego has halted issuing burn permits for outdoor burning of branches, leaves and other landscaping waste in the backcountry in hopes of reducing the risk of wildfires in the dry, hot summer months.

The agency routinely issues the order this time of year.

The order applies to unincorporated areas covered by Cal Fire and County Fire Department stations in San Diego County, said Cal Fire spokesperson Thomas Shoots. It also applies to Cal Fire-responsibility areas in Imperial County.

The order goes into effect Wednesday morning.

Cal Fire officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties suspended burn permits in those jurisdictions last week.

Shoots said residents in rural areas often will pile up wood chips and other plant material to burn in their yards after securing a burn permit from Cal Fire.

When they are being issued, residential burn permits are granted to property owners who agree to follow several safety rules such as having good clearance around the burn areas, a water supply handy, ensuring an adult is present and having a tool like a shovel handy so they can keep the fire from spreading, Shoots said.

Since Jan. 1, Cal Fire officials say firefighters have responded to more than 2,280 wildfires in California — a rate that outpaces the five-year average of 1,744 fires over the same time period.

“This year, there have already been thousands of opportunities for wildfires to impact communities across the state. The threat is real for our region and fire conditions will continue to worsen until we receive significant rainfall later in the year,” Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham said in a statement.

Fire officials also asked residents to create 100 feet of defensible space around buildings on their property and to plant fire resistant and drought-tolerant plants.

The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property, Cal Fire said.



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