Residents are urged to use caution when burning brush and debris this spring, and also to obtain a burn permit before lighting a match.
Tooele County Fire Warden Tom Wilson said people planning to burn dead grass and other dried vegetation from their yards during the open burn period — this year from March 30 to May 30 — should take precautions to help keep the fire from getting out of hand and turning into the season’s first wildfires.
All burns require a free burn permit, and fires lit without a permit might stick the responsible person with a class B misdemeanor. For people living in incorporated areas, burn permits are available through that city’s fire department.
Permits can also be applied for online at airquality.utah.gov/compliance/openburning/form/index.php, which will automatically notify the city’s fire department, and should be printed before burning.
People who live in unincorporated areas must get a burn permit through Wilson by calling 435-241-0027.
Even with a permit, fires should not be set on windy days, or days where other conditions might increase the likelihood that a fire will get out of hand.
Before lighting the fire, Wilson said, clear away other vegetation and flammable materials from the burn site, and keep a charged hose or five-gallon buckets of water and a shovel nearby. Fires should be lit slowly and gradually, which allows a person to better control the fire’s pace. Under no circumstances should a fire be left unattended.
Even with the best preparations, fires can have a mind of their own. Fires that start to get out of hand should be extinguished immediately with the water and dirt a person presumably has on hand for such an occurrence. If a fire begins to get out of control, people should call 911 immediately for help from fire crews, regardless of whether the fire was legally or illegally set, Wilson said.
Wilson said anyone with questions is also welcome to call him for more information on burn permits and spring open burn season at 435-241-0027.