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Wood Burning
Fire Safety

The fire protection agencies within the San Joaquin Valley all stress the need for agricultural burn permit holders to practice fire safety when conducting agricultural burning.  To maintain a safe fire, the fire protection agencies recommend observing the following fire safety guidelines:
  • All burning locations must be attended at all times by able-bodied adults with adequate tools or equipment to control a fire from escaping.
  • All burn locations must have adequate clearance to avoid escape.  The burn area should be a “fire safety zone” away from homes, shops, garages, and other buildings or equipment.  Do not burn near utility poles or utility supply lines.  A rule to remember is to remove all combustible materials from at least 30 feet around the burn area.
  • Do not use fuels such as tires, gasoline or diesel to ignite the fire.  It is extremely dangerous to use any flammable liquid around any fire.  Always use an approved ignition device, such as a propane burner.
  • Avoid burning near a highway or roadway.  Ashes or heavy smoke can create a very dangerous situation for drivers and winds caused by vehicles could cause the fire to escape from the fire safety zone.
  • When conducting a large field burning operation, light the fire into the wind (on the downwind side) to avoid having the fire become too large too quickly and overwhelming your ability to control the fire.
  • Do not burn on windy days.  If the fire can no longer be controlled safely, the fire must be immediately extinguished.
  • Paper raisin trays must be contained in a wire burn cage prior to burning to avoid escape of burning embers or ash.  The cage should never be filled beyond half and should be placed in a “fire safety zone”. 

The permit holder is responsible for controlling the agricultural fire.  If a fire should escape control, the responsible party may be found negligent and held liable for penalties and all fire suppression costs.  In addition, the responsible party may be held accountable for any civil penalties to other property that is burned or damaged as a result of an escaped fire.