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Fire marshal offers advice to minimize fire hazard

With warm weather forecast for this weekend, ground cover and vegetation which is already dry and several more weeks of summer ahead, fire danger is increasing across King County. As a safety precaution, the King County Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Department of Development and Environmental Services, reminds property owners to take simple steps to minimize fire hazards on private property and in public areas.

To help homeowners reduce the amount of natural flammable material near homes, DDES offers fast turnaround times on Fire Hazard Reduction Permits. Property owners simply need to describe the proposed project and when the work will be performed. Within one business day, DDES will issue and mail out a permit to the property owner. The permit is free as long as the work is done according to the permit conditions and best management practices. To apply for a Home Fire Hazard Reduction Permit online, visit www.kingcounty.gov/property/permits/info/PermitTypes/fire/FireHazardReduction.aspx.

The Fire Marshal’s Division recommends the following steps to create a safer environment for homeowners in King County:

• Do not use weed burners or other open flame devices. All vegetation burning is prohibited under the current burn ban.

• If you smoke while driving, always use vehicle ashtrays; never throw cigarette butts out of the window.

• Only use chain saws with spark arresters. When using stump grinders or other tools that can create sparks, keep the surrounding ground and vegetation wet while the tools are in use.

• Place a fireplace hearth mat under your barbeque, so coals or flaming embers do not ignite wooden surfaces or vegetation under your grill.

• Never pour charcoal lighter fluid on a lit barbeque.

• Report all fires to 911, so the fire department can verify that they are completely extinguished.

The King County fire marshal activated a Phase I Burn Ban for the unincorporated portion of King County on July 8. Despite the overall restriction on outdoor burning, recreational and small outdoor cooking fires are still allowed if they are:

1 – Contained in a metal or concrete fire pit, like those typically found in designated campgrounds;

2 – No larger than 3 feet across;

3 – Located at least 10 feet from ground vegetation or overhanging branches; and

4 – Attended at all times by an adult with immediate access to a shovel and either five gallons of water or a connected and charged water hose.

"We are enjoying our favorite kind of summer weather this year: hot and sunny,” King County Fire Marshal John Klopfenstein said. “But we still need to take a few simple steps to minimize fire-related risks so that we can all continue to enjoy our weather and hopefully avoid preventable fire emergencies.”

For information on local fire restrictions, call the King County Fire Marshal Division at 206-296-6763 or 1-800-323-BURN. To monitor the status of the burn ban, go to www.kingcounty.gov/property/FireMarshal/BurnBanInfo.aspx.

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