King County phase 1 burn ban goes into effect, prohibits burning yard debris

The Phase 1 burn ban throughout King County allows recreational fires and campfires, to an extent.

Along with the heat wave, King County is getting a small burn ban.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, July 29, the Phase 1 burn ban prohibits all outdoor fires with the exception of recreational fires, campfires, and gas or propane appliances. Grills, pellet smokers and charcoal grills are permitted as well.

The Phase 1 ban restricts yard debris fires, said Jeromy Hicks, Zone 1 fire marshal co-chair, who added that the ban will likely end towards the end of September. Though, there are weather and fuel conditions the King County fire marshals will take into consideration.

While there are exceptions to the burn ban, there are still stipulations over what kind of fires are allowed during this time. According to a press release from the King County Fire Chief’s Association and the King County Fire Marshals Association, firewood must be seasoned and dry, fires must be built in a metal or concrete fire pit and the fires must not grow larger than three feet in diameter.

King County residents must make sure all vegetation is at least 10 feet away from the fire in a horizontal direction. Recreational fires must be at least 25 feet away from any structures with a 20-foot vertical clearance from any trees or overhanging branches. There should be no recreational or campfires when wind exceeds 15 mph.

Any recreational fires should be attended to at all times alongside equipment that is capable of extinguishing the fire, like a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water or a connected water hose. King County fire marshals advise that a completely extinguished fire requires pouring water or moist soil into the fire and stirring it with the shovel until everything is cool to the touch.

The Phase 1 burn ban is a response to what fire marshals describe as an increase in Fuel Energy Release Rates, a decrease in 100-hour fuel moisture content and “anticipated warmer weather.”

“As a reminder I always encourage the residents to contact their local fire department for any additional information or restrictions,” said Hicks.