Fire chief warns of increased risk of burn pile re-ignition due to high winds

The Graeagle Fire Protection District has recently responded to several incidents of out-of-control, unattended burn piles. On consultation with the property owner, the common response is “I burned several days ago and thought it was out.”

According to Fire Chief Ed Ward, “The high winds we are experiencing are causing burn piles that are not fully extinguished to re-ignite, leading to very dangerous conditions as the property owner may be unaware of the fire re-ignition or may not be present on their property.”

The Graeagle Fire Protection District advises all property owners who are burning their yard debris of the following:

  • Burning requires a valid permit. Available from the CALFIRE website. Follow all the rules spelled out on the permit, especially having a pressurized water hose immediately available at the burn site.
  • Verify with Air Quality Management whether the day you are going to burn is a permissive burn day.
  • Use common sense. Even if it’s a permissive burn day, don’t burn when its windy!
  • When extinguishing your burn pile, soak the pile, stir the ashes thoroughly and soak it again.
  • You should feel no heat when you touch the ashes with your bare hand. If there is heat, soak it again.
  • Monitor the burn pile for several days after you burn. If you see ANY smoke, soak, stir and soak! Be especially vigilant if winds increase.
  • If you are unable to control your burn pile, call 911 immediately for fire department response.

Everyone in the community needs to be concerned about the risk of fire. Managing your property waste burning and ensuring that your burn pile is thoroughly extinguished when you are done will reduce the risk to your property and your community.