Burn ban fines eyed

Chris Tucker
Posted 8/22/17

Citing an increase in call volume due to illegal burns during the summer burn ban, East Jefferson Fire Chief Gordon Pomeroy is warning that fire district response will include the potential for …

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Burn ban fines eyed

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Citing an increase in call volume due to illegal burns during the summer burn ban, East Jefferson Fire Chief Gordon Pomeroy is warning that fire district response will include the potential for fines.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in reported illegal burns, which take time and money to investigate, while simultaneously reducing our resources for other calls,” he said in a press release. “They need to stop.”

During the summer burn ban, land-clearing burns and residential brush burning are not allowed. Recreational campfires 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or lower in fire pits or in approved containers per the International Fire Code are allowed within Jefferson County Fire Protection District 1 and the city of Port Townsend.

Fires used for trash or rubbish disposal are not considered recreational fires and are illegal, subject to a $1,000 criminal citation, Pomeroy said. Likewise, burn barrels are unhealthy and illegal.

Pomeroy said that first-time violators could be subject to a $1,000 criminal citation and a court appearance on an outdoor-burning or negligent-burning violation for burning during the burn ban.

Reckless burning is also subject to a $1,000 criminal citation and a court appearance or arrest and jail, pending court action.

In addition, civil fines for repeat offenders can be as high as $14,915, the release said.

The burn ban typically runs from July 1 through Sept. 30 each year. The fire district has the discretion to begin it earlier or extend the ban, depending on weather conditions.

For more information on burning regulations and the current status of the burn ban, go to East Jefferson Fire Rescue.

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