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Summer Safety Alert: Navigating Recreational Burning Permits

As summer approaches there is nothing quite like a beach bonfire or a campfire to roast marshmallows. While these activities promise fun and relaxation, it’s crucial to understand the regulations to safeguard both the environment and yourself from potential consequences. Be sure to understand the types of burning that don’t require a permit and the mandatory safety requirements.

Mandatory Safety Requirements

To ensure safe burning practices, the following safety requirements must be adhered to:

  • A serviceable shovel and a minimum of five gallons of water must be within the immediate vicinity of the fire. A bucket is acceptable if the outdoor fire is adjacent to an accessible body of water. A charged garden hose or other adequate water supply may be substituted for the five-gallon water requirement.
  • Only one pile may be burned at any one time and each pile must be extinguished before lighting another.
  • Burning must be done during periods of calm to very light winds. Burning when wind will scatter loose flammable materials, such as dry leaves and clippings, is prohibited.

Failure to follow these safety guidelines when burning can result in injuries, property damage, and legal liability. Insurance policies that otherwise might provide coverage could also use failure to burn safely as a reason to cancel a policy or deny a claim.

Types of Burning that Don’t Require a Permit 

According to WAC 332-24-211, the following types of burning don’t require a written burning permit:

  • A fire contained within a campfire pit, approved by the department, located in a state, county, municipal, or other campground.
  • A fire contained within a camp stove or barbecue.
  • A hand-built pile no larger than four feet in diameter that is being used exclusively for recreational purposes.
  • Situated on bare soil, gravel bars, beaches, green fields, or other similar areas free of flammable material for a sufficient distance adequate to prevent the escape of fires.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney 

By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can enjoy summer bonfires and other burning activities responsibly. However, accidents still do occur and in the event of that, you will need an experienced attorney. GLP Attorneys has extensive experience handling personal injury cases, including fire-related deaths and injuries. Our Fire Injuries practice is led by Janelle Carney Boston, who has been practicing in Washington State since 2008 and is the Managing Shareholder of our Spokane and Tri-Cities offices. Our lawyers are here to support you through your case and ensure that you are able to adequately heal. 

If you have been involved in a fire-related accident, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation.

If you have been involved in an accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation