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Burning banned in two counties


Both Grant and Okanogan County officials imposed temporary bans on outdoor burning last week.

Grant County’s board of commissioners banned all outdoor burning until further notice.

The temporary burn ban was prompted in part by a huge range fire near Wenatchee and Quincy, and generally very dry conditions throughout the area.

The commissioners noted the current range fires were putting pressure on firefighting resources.

Anyone caught burning outdoors could suffer fines and other consequences, the commissioners stated in their notice.

Even though the current range fires were caused by lightning, and not by outdoor burning, conditions are dry and just right for potential fires, the county release indicated.

With the hot, dry, arid conditions, and a heavy load of dry grass and sagebrush throughout the county, officials are expecting additional wildfires to ignite.

The restrictions prohibit the burning of yard waste, allow no burn barrels, and let farmers burn only with EPA approval.

The commissioners stated that if conditions worsen, additional restrictions might follow.

The county burn ban does not change the burn ban already in place in the county’s cities and towns, a ban that was imposed by the State Department of Ecology in 2007. When the temporary burn ban is lifted, the existing ban on burning within cities and Urban Growth areas will still be in place, the county release stated.

As of Friday, the Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department had a wildland fire truck assisting on a large fire near Quincy.

Okanogan County, officials stated, is experiencing weather conditions that are contributing to unusual fire conditions, and the potential for large and catastrophic fires exists that may be a threat to life and cause damage to buildings.

The Okanogan County resolution declared that a hazardous situation exists and that actions involving various county and other local agencies must be taken to help alleviate threats and damages.

The use of gas or charcoal fired barbecues is allowed. The exemption will only apply to those improved private recreational areas within Okanogan County.

Recreational fires must not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Open burning, camp fires, or recreational fires must constantly be attended until the fire is completely extinguished. The attendant shall have some form of fire-extinguishing equipment such as a shovel and dirt, sand, or class A fire extinguisher, water barrel, garden hose or water truck sufficient to extinguish the fire and be available for immediate use.

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