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Nov 13, 2011 10:05 PM by Liza Sullivan

Firefighters offer Burn Season advice on Tea Fire Anniversary

Monday marks the official start to Burn Season in San Luis Obispo County and Cal Fire firefighters have some advice for property owners.

They want to make sure your burn pile doesn't turn into a massive wildfire like the Tea Fire that destroyed hundreds of acres and homes east of Santa Barbara three years ago.

The Tea Fire sparked November 13, 2008 and spread fast, roaring through 19 hundred acres of dry brush in the hills near Montecito, consuming more than 200 homes.

As the people of Santa Barbara County commemorate the anniversary, firefighters in San Luis Obispo County are gearing up for Burn Season.

Starting Monday, all your leaves and grass trimmings can be gathered and burned. That is, if you live outside the designated urban areas, and have the proper permit.

"We rather see the chipping and composting done because it's more environmentally friendly," said Captain Jane Schmitz, of CDF. "If you don't have that ability, you can burn those with a door yard burn permit."

You can get an application from the County Air Pollution Control District, which is now 50 dollars. And if you get caught burning without one, you could be fined.

Firefighters urge residents to avoid setting off their burn piles on windy days, they add that piles should have adequate clearance from homes, and should not be higher than four feet.

"If they don't practice safe techniques, they could have an escape from the fire, which could cause damage to property and people," said Capt. Schmitz.

Property owners are only allowed to burn on "permissible burn days" which are determined by Air Pollution Control District.

www.slocleanair.org

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