Spokane County fire depts. see rise in illegal burn calls

SPOKANE, Wash. — An increase in possible illegal burning calls has fire protection agencies and the local air quality asking community members to review and abide by outdoor burning rules, especially with wildfire season around the corner.

As Spring and warmer weather arriving, many community members are resuming outdoor yard work and spring cleaning. To keep air quality clean and reduce fire risk, Spokane County agencies remind community members that burning garbage, including construction material, and using burn barrels is prohibited statewide. Burning outdoors, including yard debris, is not allowed in most areas of Spokane County.

Spokane Valley Fire Department has seen an almost 41 percent increase in calls this year compared to 2020.

With wildfire season approaching, the department encourages people to “Be Fire Smart” as they enjoy outdoor recreational fire. These requirements include burning only clean, dry firewood and manufactured logs; not using recreational fires for disposal of anything; burning 25 feet away from any structure including housing, garages and fences; having a fire extinguisher or charged water hose nearby; staying near the fire; keeping fires no larger than 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall; and putting out the fire completely.

Out-of-control recreational fires are a common cause of wildfires caused by people.

Some alternatives to burning include using grass clippings as a natural fertilizer; chipping and mulching; composting ordinary yard and kitchen waste; checking if garbage hauler offers curbside pick-up; and hauling their own debris to the nearest transfer station.