Last Friday, Cal Fire announced suspension of all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State and Local Responsibility Areas of Riverside Countym which includes the Hill area. The suspension took effect Monday, June 13, and bans all residential outdoor burning of tumbleweeds.

“Riverside County is no stranger to devastating wildland fires. As we enter California’s fifth year of extreme drought conditions, we urge residents to prepare their home and family not only during the summer months, but year round,” said John R. Hawkins, Cal Fire /Riverside County fire chief.

In addition to suspension of open burning, Cal Fire also will apply the following restrictions in the areas cited above:

1. Use of campfires is restricted to within established campfire facilities located in established campgrounds open to the public.

2. Agricultural burning in the Palo Verde and Coachella valleys is authorized as required for agricultural rehabilitation.

3. Cooking fires with a valid permit are permissive when no alternate means of cooking is available and requires an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit.

4. Warming fires are permissive and require an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit when weather conditions exist to justify the request.

The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland.

“As conditions across California are drying out further, we must take every step to prevent new wildfires from sparking,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director. “Residents must ensure they have defensible space by removing dead trees and overgrown vegetation from around their homes, but do so safely.”

Since Jan. 1, 2016, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have already responded to more than 1,100 wildfires. In the Cal Fire Riverside Unit, firefighters have responded to more than 1,700 wildfires.

While outdoor burning of landscape debris by homeowners is no longer allowed, Cal Fire is asking residents to ensure they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home.

Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:

• Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.

• Landscape with fire resistant/drought-tolerant plants.

• Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy facility.

The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a Cal Fire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.