March 6, 2010 in Washington Voices

Most of Valley not allowed to burn yard debris, trash

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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People taking advantage of the early spring weather should be aware that not everyone in the Spokane Valley area can burn yard debris to clean up the mess.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department routinely responds to reports of debris or trash fires that turn out to be illegal, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. On Sunday a caller reported a brush fire in the area of 18500 E. Alki Ave. and firefighters found a homeowner burning a 30-foot in diameter pile of tree limbs, branches, leaves and construction debris, Clifford said. “That is dump material and shouldn’t be burned,” he said.

The Department of Natural Resources has set most of the Spokane Valley area as a no-burn area. People who are allowed to burn must have a permit from DNR and the fires must be small and easily managed. “They have to be in the DNR burn area,” Clifford said. “Most of the areas we have are a no-burn area. They can have a recreational fire, which is basically a camp fire.”

As spring yard clean-up continues, the issue will likely keep coming up, Clifford said. “What we do is educate, give them some brochures. We ask them to put their fire out or we put it out.”

Residents can check if they are in a no-burn area by visiting the DNR or Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency Web sites at www.spokanecleanair.org or www.dnr.wa.gov.

There were 12 reported structure fires the week of Feb. 25 to Wednesday, but almost all were minor. One reported fire turned out to be a backyard barbecue. “Somebody was burning off the grease from last year,” Clifford said.

The most serious fire of the week was reported in the 4000 block of North Willow Road on Tuesday. A backyard shed sustained an estimated $10,000 in damage.

Two vehicle fires were reported and in an odd coincidence both involved engine fires in Toyota Camrys on Interstate 90 on consecutive days. There were four false fire alarms and 12 accidents that sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries.

Things were back to normal in the service call category. Firefighters responded to free children locked inside two cars during the week. “We’re back in the swing of things,” Clifford said.

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