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Cities, county restrict outdoor burning

Burning restrictions have been ordered in the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood and in unincorporated areas of Spokane County with the arrival of the region’s dry season.

The city fire marshals Thursday issued a series of restrictions on outdoor burning, and banned unauthorized open burning or recreational fires.

Backyard barbecues, deck warmers and gas-fired appliances are still allowed, along with fires in campgrounds where permitted.

Fires must be in designated areas or on private property with the owner’s approval.

Fires must be attended by a responsible adult who is knowledgeable about the use of fire extinguishing equipment, which must be on hand and ready for use. They include garden hose, dirt, sand, bucket, shovel or fire extinguisher.

Any fires must have adequate clearance of at least 15 feet between combustibles and structures.

Winds of less than 7 mph are required, and air quality must be in the “green” category for legal burning. Ash must be safely disposed.

Spokane County officials issued a similar burning restriction for all unauthorized open burning, including field burning and recreational fires. The ban does not affect use of barbecues, patio warmers or gas-fired cooking devices.

Violation can result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by a maximum penalty of $1,000 and 90 days in jail.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday increased the fire danger to high in Spokane, Lincoln and Okanogan counties and moderate in Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties.

Beginning today, DNR is prohibiting burning on all DNR and DNR-protected lands until further notice, although recreational fires in approved pits and barbecues and gas-fired cooking appliances are still allowed.