Glenn M. Levy, Fire Chief. We are quickly approaching the time of year when property owners start thinking about burning slash piles and brush from their summer mitigation projects. Timberline has already started receiving calls from property owners wanting to begin the process for obtaining burn permits. This seems like the perfect time to remind everyone the rules and responsibilities that come with burning slash piles. Remember, fire is a power tool that must be respected. Every year we respond to slash pile fires that either get out of hand, exceed the approved requirements, or are burned without the appropriate permits and inspection. We have been pretty forgiving in the past, but I am going to be holding property owner’s feet to the fire this year. I am asking everyone to please follow the rules. Yes, it’s that important! The rules that we have in place are for everyone’s safety and ensure that our area stays fire free. We have had way too many near misses the past couple of years, even when there has been snow on the ground.
First, let’s talk about the permit process for our residents of Gilpin County. You must obtain two permits to burn; one from the Colorado Department of Health (see below) and another from Gilpin County/Timberline. Timberline will need to inspect the piles prior to the permit being issued and any burning. The good news is there is no charge for either permit. Please note, in the past the Environmental Permit was good for the entire “burn season”. Effective in 2016, the Environmental Permit program changed to reflect a calendar year, so it is only good until 12/31/2016. A new permit must be obtained if you are going to burn anytime in 2017. There have been no changes in the Gilpin/Timberline permit, so it’s still good for the entire burn season.
This year we have designated Tuesday as property inspection day, so please plan accordingly. These inspections can take a great deal of time and must fit in with a lot of other tasks to include emergency responses. You don’t need to be home for us to inspect the piles, but we always enjoy meeting you and will work around your schedule when possible.
Ok, here are a few of the important rules and requirements, with a complete list of burning regulations available on our web site. It is the responsibility of the property owner to comply with all regulations, so please take the time to review the regulations and call me if you have any questions.
Only tree/brush type of materials can be burned. All limbs and stumps must be smaller than 6” in diameter.
NO trash, constriction debris, or household items.
Piles cannot be bigger than 8’ in diameter or 6’ high. Piles must be 10’ feet from any trees and from overhanging tree branches or crowns.
Piles must be at least 50’ from any structure.
Wind speed must be 10 mph or less when the pile is started and gusts greater than 10 mph for 30 minutes or more require you to extinguish the pile.
There MUST be at least 4” of snow on the ground around the pile before burning can take place. We always recommend burning during a snow event to help knock down the smoke.
Be sure to contact Timberline 24 hours before you burn as well as the appropriate dispatch agency.
All of the links necessary to obtain a permit, all the necessary phone numbers, and all the regulations and requirements can be found on the Timberline web site at www.Timberlinefire.com including the link to the Colorado State Department of Public Health permit at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/openburn.
For Timberline residents in Boulder County, the regulations are different enough that we recommend you go to the Timberline web site or to: http://www.bouldercounty.org/safety/fire/pages/openburnpermit.aspx
As always, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or comments.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the office at (303) 582-5768 or my cell phone (719) 310-5840. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TimberlineFPD/ or go to our website at www.timberlinefire.com.