San Diego/ Community & Society
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Published on May 24, 2024
CAL FIRE Enforces Outdoor Burning Suspension in San Diego to Avert Wildfire RiskSource: Grand Canyon NPS, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego residents must put their burn permits on ice as CAL FIRE steps in to prevent wildfires by suspending all outdoor residential burning in the area, effective June 1. According to a CAL FIRE press release, the lush grasslands, resulting from the wet winter, are now a tinderbox thanks to climbing temperatures and persistent winds.

The agency's decisive action is a response to the rising peril posed by the desiccated grass and increasingly arid conditions in San Diego County. While the suspension targets residential burning of landscape debris like branches and leaves, CAL FIRE's announcement made clear that the measure is "essential to safeguard our communities and resources during this heightened period of danger," a move confirmed by Unit and Fire Chief Tony Mecham.

Already grappling with over 950 wildfires since the start of the year, CAL FIRE urges locals to prepare by creating Defensible Space of at least 100 feet around homes and to stay evacuation-ready. Tips offered by the department include clearing dead vegetation, opting for fire-resistant plants, and finding alternative debris disposal methods, such as chipping or hauling to a green waste facility.

While everyday homeowners will see a halt to burning, the department may still issue restricted temporary permits for essential public health and safety reasons. When CAL FIRE officials inspect and green-light a burn site, activities like agriculture, land management, and fire training might still proceed with a special permit. However, the ban does not apply to campfires in organized campgrounds or on private property as long as they are controlled—a point of clarification from the press release.

Residents looking to enjoy the great outdoors while still playing it safe can obtain a campfire permit from local fire stations or online. This ensures that the flames stay where they're meant to and do not spread to the wildland.