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Follow The Rules So You Can Enjoy Your Recreational Fire

June 15, 2012

So what is a recreational fire?  As we’ve discussed before on this blog, there are three types of burning that are regulated by three different agencies . . . for three different reasons (http://wp.me/p1jTZ6-2v).

Recreational fires are outdoor burning of charcoal or firewood, not contained in a fireplace or barbecue, for pleasure, cooking, warmth, religious, or similar purposes.  Recreational fires are not for disposing of debris or rubbish and using such fuels is illegal.  There are a few other rules to follow to enjoy your recreational fire:

  1.  The fire must be attended by a responsible adult until out and cold.
  2. That adult must have some sort of fire-fighting tool(s) on-hand and present.  Garden hoses, shovels with sand, water barrel with buckets, or fire extinguisher (minimum 4A) all meet this requirement.
  3. The fire may not exceed three feet in diameter or two feet in height.
  4. The fire must be at least 50 feet away from structures (your neighbor’s wooden fence is considered a structure in Spokane County).  Furthermore conditions that would allow the fire to spread to structures must be mitigated.  Ensure you have a good fire line around your fire.
  5. The landowner must give permission for the fire.  Going out to a vacant lot and starting a campfire is illegal unless the landowner has given you permission to do so.  This county has seen a major wildfire result from this situation.
  6. Burn restrictions take precedence!  If any agency (fire district, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, County Building Official, Regional Clean Air Authority, Washington Dept. of Ecology) has issued burning restrictions against recreational fires, you MUST follow those restrictions.  Burning restrictions are usually due to dry, windy weather conditions or poor air quality.  Watch the newspaper, TV news and this blog to see if burn restrictions are in place.  Normally Spokane County restricts recreational fires from sometime in July out until the fall to protect everyone from wildfires.  Violations of burning restrictions can carry expensive fines and no one wants that.

If you’ve got questions about recreational fires, give us a call at 466-4602.  You can also e-mail dbleeker@scfd9.org or leave a question in the comment section of this blog.

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