Pierce County burn ban starts Friday

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Pierce County officials announced Wednesday that the county’s fire marshal and fire chief’s association has declared a countywide burn ban for unincorporated Pierce County.

Residents in incorporated Pierce County cities will need to contact their local jurisdictions for requirements.

The ban is due to the current and predicted dry weather conditions, according to Ron Kent, the assistant chief of operations with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue.

“The low humidity. Dry fuels. Little bit of wind… We’re in the perfect storm for fire weather,” Kent said

The ban, which goes into effect Friday at 8 a.m., applies to all land clearing and yard debris outdoor burnings.

The ban does not apply to small recreational fire pits (private properties or campgrounds), or the use of gas, propane and charcoal self-contained stoves and barbecues.

The ban also does not apply to setting off legal fireworks in unincorporated Pierce County during the designated discharge times during the Independence Day holiday season.

While burn piles will be banned because they present the largest danger, Kent said human-caused fires tend to spark in the smallest ways. A large portion of those causes come from drivers, such as throwing a cigarette butt out the window.

“The littlest things can spark this off. Sparks from mufflers driving. Trains can set them off, just regular train sparks and train tracks,” Kent said. “Even just little stuff at this time of year with these conditions, it’s fair game. Everything matters.”

Responding to human-caused fires can take away limited resources, which presents a major problem if another emergency is happening at the same time.

In the last week, Western Washington has seen a rise in drownings. That’s something Central Pierce Fire and Rescue is well aware of.

“One of the largest rivers in the Puget Sound is right in our district. We have several large lakes. That keeps us busy as well. It’s the holiday weekend,” Kent said. “Having fun this weekend and next couple of weeks, just think about that. With your actions, the smallest thing could start a fire.”

The ban will remain until further notice.

For more information, you can call the Pierce County Fire Prevention Burn Ban hotline at 253-798-7278.