Beginning Tuesday Aug. 14, the Riverside County Fire Department will suspend the issuance of burning permits in unincorporated communities as a safety precaution.
Fire Chief John Hawkins declared that “critical fire weather and (the) acute dryness of vegetation” warranted rescinding open burning privileges, with few exceptions.
The chief has the authority, under the state Public Resources Code, to impose a ban on open burning when public safety is at risk.
The burning prohibition does not apply to cities, which issue their own permits, or to farmers clearing land in the Coachella and Palo Verde valleys.
Campfires will be allowed, but only in designated areas, according to fire department officials.
The agency will continue to issue temporary permits for cooking fires in places where there is no alternative means of preparing food. Warming fires will also be permitted “when weather conditions exist to justify the request,” Hawkins said.
He said that in all cases, sites must first be inspected by firefighters from the nearest station to ensure they’re safe.
Anyone who violates the ban and accidentally ignites a wildfire could be held liable for any damage it causes, according to the fire department.
The ban will remain in effect until Hawkins rescinds it.