Wet weather brings end to fire restrictions | TheUnion.com

Wet weather brings end to fire restrictions

The end of one burning season launched another after rained splashed on Nevada County most of Thursday.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection called an end to the fire season and announced it is lifting the season-long burn ban at 8 a.m. today.

The announcements, coming after more than 11¼2 inches of rain doused Nevada City by 1:30 p.m., capped a milder fire season than last year.

In 2001, CDF responded to 1,001 fires that burned a combined 6,909 acres of wildland in Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties. This year, 1,579 fires burned 3,084 acres.

“We had more red-flag warnings (this year), more potential for large, damaging fires, and that just didn’t happen,” CDF spokeswoman Tina Rose said.

Tahoe National Forest experienced a dramatic reversal from last year.

In 2001, 93 fires burned 12,000 acres, which included the Martis, Gap, Star and Ponderosa fires. This year, 57 fires burned just 31 acres.

TNF spokeswoman Ann Westling pointed to precipitation. Last year’s dry spring contributed to the string of devastating fires. But a “fairly normal winter” preceded this year’s fire season, she said.

CDF’s lifting of the burn ban applies to the county’s unincorporated areas. In Grass Valley and Nevada City, permits are required to burn yard waste.

Outside the cities, residents are required to burn piles comprised of 20 percent or less of leaves and pine needles.

“And burn hot and clean. Don’t make smoke nuisances for your neighbors,” said Joe Fish, air pollution control specialist for the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.

The leaves-and-pine needle ordinance has been around a year, and Fish has heard that more people have since been taking their yard waste to the McCourtney Road Transfer Station. At the same time, his agency has received about the same number of smoke complaints.

Starting this year, the Northern Sierra district will start citing “egregious” violators, Fish said, noting the bottom line is maintaining courtesy.

“If this person is creating an unhealthy situation for their neighbors, we’re going to enforce all of the regulations that we’re empowered to

enforce,” he said.


To hear a Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District recording on daily burn information, call 274-7928 or 268-1023.

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