Open burn season begins in parts of Utah

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Open burn season opened March 1 in specified parts of Utah and will open March 30 in others, allowing residents to conduct open burns of burn certain kinds of debris and waste on a small scale and permitted basis through May 30.

The season opened in Washington, Kane, San Juan, Iron, Garfield, Beaver, Piute, Wayne, Grand and Emery counties March 1 and will open in all other parts of the state on March 30.

Permits are intended for small residential controlled fires, St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said. They are free and good for one day. If a resident plans to burn materials on more than one day, a separate permit must be obtained for each day.

“What it’s really meant for is yard waste,” Imlay said, “weeds, leaves, small branches, brush, that type of stuff. We don’t want construction companies burning big piles of construction waste.”

This 2016 file photo shows a farmer’s controlled burn quickly spreading out of control making its way to the south edge of the Virgin River in an area just north of 800 S. 1900 East, Washington City, Utah, Sept. 8, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

No trash, tires or construction debris may be burned. The Fire Department must inspect what is going to be burned before a permit will be issued.

There have been problems in the past, Imlay said, when developers cleared off lots trying to burn big piles of debris.

You must have a means of extinguishing the fire at any burn in case it starts to get out of hand.

“Whether they have a permit or not, if they try to do a controlled burn and it gets away from them causing any damage or injury,” Imlay said, “they are liable for any costs of fighting the fire or any damage.”

Conditions matter. There may be some days during burn season when permits will not be issued. This is determined by one of two things: the weather and the clearing index.

The clearing index indicates how heavy the air is and how quickly the smoke will clear from a burn.

“Usually on clear, warm days that’s not a problem,” Imlay said. “On other days, if the clearing is not low enough we don’t want to fill the valley up with smoke.”

Permits also will not be issued if high winds are forecast for the region.

Good judgment must be used when burning. If the weather suddenly changes and winds start blowing hard, extinguish your pile immediately.

Permits can be obtained online for some areas or by phone, a local fire station can also assist you.

For information on disposing of trash and construction debris, call the Washington County Solid Waste department at 435-673-2813 or your local county waste disposal department.

Note: Regulation particulars may vary by locale. Imlay’s advice is specific to the city of St. George, but the information presented is consistent with regulations in many areas. Consult your local authority for specific requirements and advice regarding a planned burn.


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Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • hiker75 March 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I cannot understand why residents do not put yard waste in the trash. Why burn it and share smoke with all of the other residents?

    • comments March 5, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      because it’s fun to make big fires?

  • .... March 6, 2017 at 6:50 am

    LOL ! Hang on when Bob gets here he will post something about a governmental conspiracy as to why they do this and he will connect it to the LDS church. …LOL !

    • Real Life March 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      6:50 am is when those of us which have a job, go to work.

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