Outdoor burn ban lifted

The Kitsap County Fire Chiefs Association, along with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, lifted the countywide outdoor burning ban at 8 a.m. yesterday.

The burn ban was imposed on July 13 in King, Kitsap, Mason and Pierce counties due to increased fire danger. Moisture levels dipped to 20 percent and the ban was put in place, according to Theresa MacLennan, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue spokeswoman.

After last week’s torrential rainfall, moisture levels of vegetation throughout the region have been restored and fire danger has decreased.

“Right now in our area the vegetation moisture level is around 26 percent,” MacLennan said.

Although the ban is lifted, officials said citizens should continue to use caution because the burn ban could be reinstated if the area sees another stretch of hot and dry weather.

“Even though the fire danger in Western Washington has been reduced, wildfires are still a threat, particularly in Eastern Washington,” Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland said. “I encourage the public to be very cautious during the remaining months of this fire season. If necessary, burn restrictions in King, Kitsap, Mason and Pierce counties could be reinstated as drier, hotter conditions return.”

People should observe regulations governing outdoor burning. Most outdoor fires were permanently banned in the county’s urban growth areas in 2001. It is illegal to burn anything except natural vegetation and fire departments require burning permits for most outdoor fires.

“Burn permits are still required and if you live in a no burn area you’re still not allowed to burn vegetation,” MacLennan said.

All outdoor fires must be attended by someone capable of extinguishing the blaze and must have a way to snuff out the fire.

The burn ban could be restored if hot, dry weather returns and moisture levels drop at or below 20 percent.

“If the moisture level drops around 20 percent we will re-implement a burn ban,” MacLennan said.

For more information on local outdoor burning in Central Kitsap, call (360) 447-3555 or countywide at (800) 323-BURN.

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