County burn permits suspended

July 02, 2003 11:00 pm

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Whether you have a permit or not, burning brush or trash is illegal as of Tuesday, July 1.

A suspension of all "dooryard" burning permits in Del Norte and 30 other counties was announced by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection until further notice.

Campfires are allowed, but CDF Fire Chief Kevin Fox said it had better be for cooking or warming.

"You better have a can of Beanie–Weenies, because if we're called out there, we can tell the difference between a campfire and brushfire," Fox said.

Burn barrel fires are still allowed within the limits of Crescent City, but for paper only. City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield said a screen for the barrel and a permit are required.

Gasquet resident Dan McClure, who relies on fire to burn his brush, said he voluntarily stopped burning in April when the dry season began.

"I think it's a good idea. When it stops raining, I stop burning," McClure said.

The suspension comes one day after a 500-acre wildfire was brought under control outside of Willow Creek.

Last year, Gasquet neighborhoods were narrowly saved from a wildfire that scorched 500,000 acres. It started from a lightning strike in late July.

Fox, fire chief at the Crescent City CDF station, said campfires will be allowed on private property and in designated areas at state, federal and county parks.

On the Fourth of July, campfires will be allowed on Pebble Beach, because it is within the Crescent City limits, but fires on South Beach, located south of Crescent City Harbor, are not permitted.

"The problem on South Beach is people tend to build the fire, then leave them. And with the winds we get, it can blow across the road to the brush," said Fox.

Use of fireworks will also be watched by law enforcement and firefighters on patrol this Fourth of July season.

Crescent Fire Protection District Chief John McFarland said the rules for what's legal and what's not are easy.

"If it leaves the ground, it's illegal. But any fireworks that have the ‘safe and sane' label from the California state fire marshall on it, it's legal," McFarland said.