Submitted by San Juan Island Fire and Rescue.
Summer is upon us, and this year is forecasted to be both hotter and drier than the last few. That means a greater risk of wildfires in our county. San Juan Island Fire and Rescue has some quick tips to help you keep your loved ones, your property, and your community safer during the hottest months of the year.
1. Follow burn season and burn ban rules.
• PERMITTED BURN SEASON OPEN: When the burn season is open, burn permits can be issued, and recreational fires are allowed. The current burn season is open through May 31.
• PERMITTED BURN SEASON CLOSED: When the permitted burn season is closed (June 1), no burn permits will be issued. Recreational and cooking fires are allowed if conditions permit. Recreational campfires are three feet or less in diameter, built on bare soil, gravel, or in a fire bowl. Recreational fires must be fueled by clean, dry, natural wood not trash or yard waste.
• BURN BAN: When a burn ban goes into effect, no burn permits will be issued, and no recreational fires will be allowed. Additional information will be provided as to what may be allowed, i.e., cooking fires with propane, depending on the severity of the fire hazard/risk.
Find the most up-to-date information on burn permissions or complete descriptions of what constitutes recreational, residential and commercial burns at www.sanjuanco.com/1088/Fire-Marshal
2. Extinguish recreational fires (campfires, bonfires, beach fires) completely. A recreational fire is extinguished completely when the coals are spread out and cool to the touch. Pour water on the fire if necessary. Never leave the area until the fire is completely out.
3. Prevent grass fires. Regular maintenance of mowers and other outdoor equipment and vehicles can help prevent grass fires. Metal lawnmower blades can strike rocks, resulting in sparks that start grass fires. Therefore, we recommend mowing in the cooler part of the day (preferably before 10 a.m.).
4. Move all potential fuel sources at least 10 feet away from structures. Houses and other buildings should be kept clear of tall brush, firewood stacks, yard waste, and storm debris. Flames and sparks can jump from one fuel source to another faster than you can blink.
5. Check all smoke detectors after returning to winterized homes. Smoke & CO detectors should be tested regularly to help keep your household safe. Power outages and other unexpected events in your absence can make your home vulnerable.
For more information on fire safety, fire prevention, and burn permissions, please see the following websites:
Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention: smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos
San Juan County Fire Marshal: www.sanjuanco.com/1088/Fire-Marshal
San Juan Island Fire and Rescue: www.sjifire.org
If you would like a free assessment of your property’s wildfire risk, please contact the Fire Department: 360-378-5334to schedule an evaluation by our FireWise team.
Have a safe and fun-filled summer season from your friends at San Juan Island Fire & Rescue!