Rules apply to recreation fires

WHATCOM — Due to warm weather conditions ahead and decreasing fuel moisture levels, the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office will enact restrictions on open burning in unincorporated Whatcom County starting at 8 a.m. Friday, July 12.

All land clearing and yard debris burning must stop and all issued burn permits are suspended.

Recreational fires will still be allowed with the landowner’s permission if:

  • they use only seasoned firewood or charcoal.
  • they are contained in an enclosure no larger than three feet across and at least 16 inches high, made of cement blocks, stones or steel.
  • they are at least 25 feet from structures, timber and combustible materials.

A charged garden hose or two 5-gallon buckets full of water must be next to the fire, as well as a shovel or rake to help in extinguishing it.

Beach fires (where allowed) can be dug into an 8-inch-deep pit, surrounded by 4-inch-high enclosure of rocks.

Recreational fires after dark must be attended at all times by someone 16 years or older. No burning is allowed when winds exceed 7 mph.

Violations of these restrictions can result in a $250 fine. In addition, if you have a fire that escapes or needs to be extinguished by the fire department, you may be held financially responsible for fire suppression costs, as well as be criminally charged.

If your property lies within Whatcom County fire districts 5 (Point Roberts), 11 (Lummi Island) or 17 (Sandy Point), you must check with those fire districts for outdoor burning restrictions and how to obtain outdoor burning permits (when available).

If your property lies within or you are visiting property that is protected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources or a federal parks or forest agency, you must contact those organizations about outdoor burning restrictions.

For more details, contact the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-778-5900 or visit the website at  http://www.whatcomcounty.us/FireMarshal. You must phone the Outdoor Burning Information Line every time you burn in Whatcom County:  360-778-5903.