Restrictions made to open burning window law in area
By Myrna Trauntvein
Some changes have been made in the open burning window law that affects the residents of the area.
"The Juab County Special Service Fire District has announced an open burning window with restrictions," said Randy McKnight, Nephi City administrator.
The window is short. He said that the time period covered will be from March 30 through May 30, 2013.
The time period from June 1 to October 31 is designated as a closed fire season by the state.
Written burn permits are also required but more difficult to get during the 'Annual Closed Fire Season' and will be issued only in very limited circumstances such as when considered necessary and safe to mitigate fire threat and risk to life and/or property.
"Restrictions include the requirement to obtain a permit, the type of materials that may be burned, acceptable weather conditions on burning days, notification to dispatch before burning and other considerations," said McKnight.
The division also has penalties in place for those who ignore the need for a permit prior to starting a fire.
"What about a family who wants to start a little fire in a patio container (built for the purpose) to roast marshmallows?" asked Mark Jones, mayor.
"It may depend on what they burn," McKnight said.
It may also depend on the fuel used, the size and the location of the fire.
For example, just as in a barbecue charcoal burner, the fire may be small, well-contained and easily controlled. In other instances, the backyard may contain a fire pit where logs are used.
It was suggested that homeowners check with the local fire department to find out where recreation fires can be used outdoors prior to planning to use one.
"The Utah State Division of Air Quality has established the open burning window for yard waste only," he said.
Approved burning allows residents to burn only clippings, bushes, plants, grass, leaves, limbs and other pruning, said McKnight.
The law, he said, prohibits the burning of household waste, construction and demolition waste, milled lumber of any kind, cardboard, trash, cloth, rubbish, tires, plastics, chemicals or liquid fuels and petroleum products and petroleum products may not be used to start fires.
"Materials to be burned must be thoroughly dry," said McKnight.
Gone are the days when a permit could be obtained locally, he said.
Open Burning Permits must be applied for online at the Utah Division of Air Quality website at http://www.airquality.utah.gov/Compliance/OpenBurning/Index.htm at least three days in advance of the anticipated burn.
After the burn permit application is completed and submitted, a copy is sent electronically to the county or municipal fire authority having jurisdiction in the area where the open burning will take place.
"The applicable county or municipal fire authority is the permit issuing authority and no burning is allowed without an approved burn permit," said McKnight.
Those who cannot complete the application online must still apply.
A hard copy of the application may be completed and submitted by mail to the DAQ for electronic processing.
To request a hard copy, contact the DAQ by phone at (801) 536-4000.
"It may take up to 14-days from the date of request to receive an open burn permit if a hard copy is submitted for processing," said McKnight.
"The local fire authority will be notified by email of the permit," said McKnight.
He said that state law requires the Utah Clearing Index be verified which must be above 500 when burning.
"The state is interested in whether the fire and smoke will go up into the air or will hang around causing air quality problems," said McKnight.
The Clearing Index can be obtained by telephone at: 1-801-524-5133 or via the internet at: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/projects/ifp/html/webSMF_mew.php.
State law requires that the sheriff's dispatch service be notified prior to any burning and inform the dispatcher of an intent to burn.
Failure to notify of the burning is a class B misdemeanor and the person who is doing the burning may be liable for fire response costs.
"Notification is required for all agricultural burns," said McKnight.
Burning cannot be within 50 feet of any structure or combustible material.
All flammable vegetation must be cleared within a 10-foot radius of fire and persons burning must have a garden hose available and be connected to a garden hose during the burning and the fire must be attended by a responsible adult until the fire has been extinguished.
Burning during night hours is not allowed.
When authorized to burn, those burning should be considerate of neighbors and be aware of smoke drifting towards neighbor's homes.
If the fire department is asked to respond, and it is determined that the fire is a nuisance, the fire department will put out the fire.
"The burning permit does not relieve an individual from personal liability due to neglect or incompetence," said McKnight.
Anyone burning has a responsibility to make adequate fire breaks and take other measures necessary to insure the fire is controlled. If the fire spreads to another property, the person who started the fire will be responsible for payment for fire suppression and may be liable for damages.