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Controlled burn frequency increases; how to assist fire prevention by avoiding unnecessary responses

Fire control agencies responded to multiple fire calls this week, along with receiving a few reports of permitted fires along fence lines and roadsides. According to Kane County Fire Warden Spencer Rollo, “[Burns conducted by] local Forest Service, BLM and State Agencies are normally announced before the burn starts through a notification system … there has been an increase in burns going on, I think only a few of those burns have been illegal burns. For the most part I think people are pretty good about getting burn permits and calling in their burns to dispatch.”

Graphic courtesy of Spencer Rollo.

That pattern of calling in burns is one that Rollo hopes to see increase going forward. “I think for the fire department and dispatch, one of the biggest problems we have is people not calling in when they burn so we are having to respond more when it’s not necessary.” With the recent and ongoing agreement process between Kanab City and Kane County for fire protection coverage and funding, the use of fire department resources is a contentious topic. There has been at least one confirmed call in November of fire protection agents responding to an already safely controlled burn on a private citizen’s property, a costly response that highlights how private citizens in the area can help their local fire protection services operate more cheaply and efficiently.

Per Rollo, any burn outside of a fence line or a ditch requires a permit to safely burn in Kane County, with different locations requiring different regulations - though fence line and ditch burns have their own requirements. Typically, obtaining a permit is obtained by calling in to the city or county offices depending on where the burn is located, providing some basic information and allowing the office time to notify dispatch - though it may be more convenient for both the applicant and the office if an applicant filled out their form online. Kane County’s website has permit instructions and no-permit burn requirements in the “Fire Warden” section of the website, and the local municipalities can call into their respective fire department.

With the Fire Department and other fire resources in the area being taxed more and more due to local growth, citizens are encouraged to keep authorities notified of controlled burns to avoid unnecessary responses, as well as to ensure safety from a situation that may quickly demand a very necessary response. As Rollo says, “Burning is really complex, every year it seems like something new comes out. When all else fails, contacting the county fire warden will save a lot of headache and possible legal issues.” Some of the local burns are as a result of recent legislation, which the Southern Utah News team is in the process of researching. Expect further specifics in upcoming issues.




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