Burn ban lifted as wet weather returns

The burn ban in Island County has been lifted now that wet weather has returned.

The ban on outdoor burning ended at midnight on Friday, Oct. 2, according to Island County Sheriff Rick Felici. Local officials put the kibosh on campfires because of the increased fire danger risk this summer.

However, Coupeville, Freeland, Langley and Oak Harbor residents, including those in the cities’ urban grown areas, are still prohibited from burning yard waste or conducting land-clearing burns.

Residents in unincorporated areas of the county who want to burn yard waste or conduct land-clearing burns are required to get a permit from the Island County Health Department.

Recreational fires do not need a permit as long as they are less than three feet across and less than two feet tall. Fires need to be in a pit that is 16 inches tall and made of cement, stone or steel. Burn barrels are illegal to use anywhere in the state and carry a $1,000 fine.

People should be cognizant of the weather and especially of the wind before lighting a match, according to North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief John Clark. He said that the department usually sees an increase in outdoor burning-related calls during windy weather or during burn ban – resulting in dozens of calls throughout the year.

“In both cases, contained fires can quickly spread beyond the designated area and travel through surrounding trees or vegetation and possibly structures,” Clark said in an email.

More information about burning regulations, permits and fire safety tips can be found on the Island County website, www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/EH/Burning/Pages/Home.aspx

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