King County Fire Marshal issues Stage 1 Burn Ban, restricting yard debris fires in unincorporated areas

With the dry season fast approaching, King County Fire Marshal Eric Urban has issued a Stage 1 Burn Ban for the unincorporated areas, which prohibits yard debris fires along with fires set to clear land. It takes effect Saturday, June 29.

The ban, issued in conjunction with the King County Fire Chiefs Association and King County Fire Marshals Association, does not apply to recreational fires and gas/propane appliances, including grills, pellet smokers and charcoal grills.

Expected periods of higher temperatures will increase the amount of dry fuel load, or vegetation, in our communities. This in turn increases the risk of an uncontrolled fire when burning yard debris or a fire set to clear land.

Urban says residents who smoke should use extreme caution with their ashes or when they’re extinguishing cigarettes. King County asks residents to be diligent and respectful of their neighbors, and to remember that the summer months are a demanding time for first responders.

“We are coming into the busy summer season,” he says. “While it’s a time to celebrate and have fun with family and friends, it’s also a time when the risk of fire increases. Our first responders are always working hard to respond to any and all emergencies, but the community can do its part by obeying the Stage 1 Burn Ban to help prevent uncontrolled fires.”

And with the camping season in full swing, here are the requirements for approved recreational or campfires, per the King County Fire Chiefs Association:

  • Firewood must be seasoned and dry.
  • The fire must be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds.
  • The fire must not be used to dispose of debris.
  • The fire must be no larger than three (3) feet in diameter.
  • The fire must be in a clear spot that is at least 10 feet away from any vegetation on all sides, at least 25 feet away from any structure, and at least 20 vertical feet from overhanging branches.
  • Recreational fires must always be attended by an alert individual with equipment capable of extinguishing the fire, either a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water or a connected and charged water hose.
  • Campfires must be completely extinguished by pouring water or moist soil in them and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.
  • For cooking or heating water, the use of self-contained camp stoves is encouraged as an alternative.
  • Do not burn when winds are faster than 15 mph.