MONTEREY (BCN) – Because of increasing fire danger posed by dead grass and hotter, drier conditions, starting Monday, Cal Fire is suspending all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Areas of Monterey and San Benito counties.

“Last year, California experienced its most destructive fire season in the state’s known history,” said Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire Director. “Together, we must continue to adapt and evolve to be able to withstand the intensity of these fires, keeping in mind that the only way to minimize the damage they cause is through education, prevention and mitigation efforts.

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“We are relying on the public to be ready,” Porter continued.

Since January 1, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have responded to more than 1,788 wildfires. Cal Fire is asking residents to take time they would normally spend burning landscape debris to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home and building on their properties and being prepared to evacuate if the time comes.

Cal Fire preparation tips include clearing all dead or dying vegetation within 100 feet around all structures, landscaping with fire-resistant plants and nonflammable ground cover and finding alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris such as chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility.

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“2020 saw over 4 million acres burn in California,” said Reno DiTullio, Jr., Cal Fire San Benito-Monterey Unit Chief. “The lack of precipitation reminds us that the public cannot let their guard down. The recent vegetation fires in San Benito and Monterey Counties showcase the importance of defensible space. Please protect your life and property, as well as the lives of firefighters by creating and maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space. … We can’t predict when and where a wildfire will start, but we can all prepare.”

Cal Fire 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.

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. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.

For additional information on how to create defensible space, home hardening and evacuation planning and how to be prepared for wildfires, as well as tips to prevent              wildfires, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

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