Sacto 9-1-1
March 16, 2013
Officials warn dry winter, warm weather increase fire risks

Due to lack of rain and unseasonably warm weather, fire season has come early this year.

Officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit are urging residents to use caution when burning debris. Although spring doesn't arrive until next week, the lack of moisture and the increase in temperatures in recent days have quickly dried vegetation in many parts of Northern California, according to a Cal Fire news release.

Cal Fire officials say they have responded to a large number of fires this past week that were caused by escaped debris burns.

"Abnormally low precipitation this winter has created potentially hazardous burning conditions," Cal Fire Unit Chief Brad Harris said in a written statement. "Homeowners should be careful when undertaking a burn project and remember that they are legally responsible if the fire escapes their control."

Although burn permits are not required this time of year, fire officials advise residents to follow the same guidelines to reduce the risk of a fire escaping their control:
* Maintain a maximum pile size of 4 feet diameter.
* Keep the area within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile clear of all flammable material and vegetation.
* Keep a responsible person in attendance with a shovel until the fire is out.
* Maintain a water supply at the burn site.
* Undertake burning only when whether conditions, particularly wind, are such that burning can be considered safe.

For more information on fire safety, see the website at www.fire.ca.gov.

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