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Dry December Prompts Burning Restrictions

The number of fires statewide has almost doubled this year.

Dry December Prompts Burning Restrictions
Cal Fire has suspended all open burning in the state, after a desperately dry December. This is the second dry winter in a row, with the number of fires almost doubling.

There were 4,798 fires through Dec. 21 in 2012 and 7,085 in 2013. The five-year average is 4,830 for the same period. 

Acreage burned has dropped in a year from 151,000 to 121,000.

Here's the announcement from Cal Fire about the burning restrictions:

Cal Fire will suspend all open burning within the State Responsibility Area and Local Responsibility Areas under contract to Cal Fire in the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, portions of Stanislaus, and Western San Joaquin Counties. 

Experience has shown that open burning suspensions effectively aid in preventing fire escapes and significantly reduces the risk and occurrence of large fires. This is especially important as these counties are currently experiencing record breaking low cumulative rainfall, low humidity, dry fuel moisture levels and increased fire activity. So far in November and December this year in Santa Cruz County alone, out of 31 vegetation fires, we have experienced 15 escaped debris fires. Normal for the same period would be an estimated 5 to 7 vegetation fires alone. 

Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a Cal Fire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit to specifically exempt a burn from this ban. Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, or in established facilities on private property with permission of the landowner and jurisdictional authority. Persons burning under any special permit must also check with their regional air quality management district for addition regulations and requirements. 

Cal Fire reminds everyone that it is their individual responsibility to use fire safely and to prevent fires. Visit  www.ReadyforWildfire.org for more information on how to prepare for and prevent wildfires. 

Anyone with questions about this declaration is urged to contact the nearest Cal Fire facility. 

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