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Outdoor burning is worse than they thought


Authorities clamped down on a local fire chief this week, who said he didn’t know burning the kinds of materials he had in his burn pile was illegal.

He’s not alone in a lack of understanding of this state’s laws regarding outdoor burning. City hall seems to think that if he had contained his fire to a certain size, had a ready means to extinguish it and kept the burn to unoffending materials, such as leaves, it would be OK.

It would not.

It is against the law in this state to burn anything within “Growth Management” boundaries. It has been illegal for most of the state since 2001, but the state phased in the restriction for small towns. It’s been illegal here since 2007.

All of Electric City, all of Grand Coulee and at least the Douglas County portion of Coulee Dam fall under this restriction.

Probably to most of us, accustomed to our wide open spaces, this seems like an unnecessary intrusion in an area that can almost always count on the wind to blow the smoke somewhere else.

Nevertheless, it is the law of the land. Local authorities might want to check on the Clean Air Act, RCW 70.94.6514, which bans burning in much of the state and directs the Department of Ecololgy to come up with suggestions on what we’re now supposed to do with all the stuff we used to just burn.

Those tips can be found at their website.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher


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