Bonfire, Fireworks, Burn Bans and more

North Kitsap Fire & Rescue By Michele Laboda

Bonfires can be a lovely addition to an evening on the beach. Bonfires can also cause a lot of trouble if conducted outside the outdoor burning rules, without permission of the property owner or improperly extinguished.

You can’t get permission to burn in a county park; fires, unless inside a contained barbecue unit, are prohibited in all Kitsap County parks. With the permission of the property owner, and as long as no outdoor burning ban is in effect, beach fires complying with the rules are allowed.

Permits aren’t required for fires under four feet in diameter that are built of dry, seasoned firewood or charcoal in a designated fire pit. Fires that are larger than four feet in diameter require a permit, available for free at any of our staffed fire stations.

To best enjoy a beach fire safely, keep it small (so that no permit is required) and well clear of other combustibles such as other driftwood or grasses. Have a water source nearby (Puget Sound works well as long as you’ve got a bucket with you).

When you’re ready to leave, make sure the fire is completely out by dousing any remaining coals thoroughly with water. If you think someone isn’t following the rules or that a fire has been left burning unattended, call 911 to report your concern. Our crews will come out to make sure that the fire is safe and within the rules. If it’s not, we may extinguish it. Don’t hesitate to call if you’re worried about a fire; we’d always rather respond to a concern before it turns into a dangerous incident.

Reminder about fireworks

Because consumer fireworks are responsible for far too many injuries and fires, we’d prefer that folks leave fireworks to the professionals and attend one of the area’s spectacular public displays. If you choose to use fireworks, we hope you’ll do it safely and follow the rules. Unless you’re within the boundaries of the Port Gamble S’Klallam or Port Madison/Suquamish reservations, fireworks cannot legally be discharged except between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 4. If fireworks are posing an immediate threat to life or property, it’s appropriate to call 911 to report the emergency. To report non-emergent fireworks problems, officials suggest calling 360-307-5811 to avoid overwhelming Kitsap 911 during the busy Fourth of July holiday.

Speaking of the Fourth of July — our personnel are proud to be sponsors of this year’s celebration in Kingston; members pitch into a fund that makes donations to causes like this one, and supports addressing our smoke alarm, bike helmet, car seat and life jacket programs. We love being involved in our community — both on-duty and off-duty. Watch for our members and their families walking in this year’s parade alongside our rigs staffed with on-duty personnel, and be sure to wave!

Watch out for the burn ban

Every summer, increasing fire danger causes officials to impose a ban on the most common cause of destructive wildland blazes — outdoor burning. Verify the status of outdoor burn bans by calling our automated line at 360-297-4888 or by checking our web site at nkfr.org.

— Michele Laboda is the Pubic Information Officer for North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, she can be reach at laboda@nkfr.org or 360-297-3619.

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