Monday, September 24, 2007

Cal Fire warns about illegal burns

September 24, 2007


Cal Fire warns about illegal burns

Cal Fire officials were warning residents not to conduct burns in their backyards after firefighters responded to several illegal burns on Sunday, including an expensive helicopter trip to a wooded area that county taxpayers will soon be billed for.

In all, there were an estimated dozen backyard burns in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County throughout Sunday, said Bill Tomkovic, a fire captain in Felton's emergency command center for Cal Fire.

"People think that just because it rained that they can burn," he said. "But the fact is, summer isn't over just yet. It could get hot and some of these burns could smolder for a while, then start a huge fire, and nobody wants that"

The burn season doesn't start until Dec. 1, he said, adding it will last until April 30. Until then, only those who have an agricultural permit can burn.

The illegal burns, Tomkovic said, were reported in Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, Zayante, Soquel, Loma Prieta and Corralitos.

In one incident, he said that a helicopter had to be dispatched to Redwood Lodge, a street just north of Soquel and south of Loma Prieta.

"People will be billed for the suppression cost," Tomkovic said.

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Anonymous said...

You mentioned that the people who were doing these recent backyard burns without a permit and outside of the burn season will be billed for the fire suppression call-out. Does County Fire also bill for illegal fires? for accidental home fires? for fire suppression at vehicle crashes? I'm curious if these charges are made to help defray the cost of fire protection in this area.
Stan Sokolow

Leman said...

The comments in question are regarding a press release from Cal Fire. They will, when warranted do cost recovery on illegal fires. If County Fire responds on those calls as part of Cal Fire's response, County Fire will be reimbursed. Accidental fires or vehicle fires are not generally charged for by fire agencies as a whole.