Confusing Fire Danger Status - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Confusing Fire Danger Status

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Fire season is here, and the Benton County Fire Marshall reports it's now too dangerous to burn old leaves, trees and tumbleweeds cluttering up your yard.

It's seems like a simple warning, but different restrictions apply to different areas. As Brian Carlson found out, knowing when and where you can burn could be an all day project.

When tumbleweeds stack up in your yard. It's easy to understand why people want to get rid of the problem. But when the Fire Marshall raises the fire danger level it's difficult to know who can burn them and who can't.

"Open burning is not allowed today in Benton county due to high fire hazard this includes the normally exempt forms of burning," states the message on the Benton Clean Air Authority Burn Line.     

But if your just trying to clear your yard and don't know what "normally exempts forms of burning" means the information line will leave you asking questions.

Right now the danger level is "Very High" which means if you live in anywhere in Benton County you can't burn anything outside.

"When we get into very high and above the fuel moistures levels are so low it like gasoline it burns so quickly people can't control it," said Benton County Fire Marshall Ken Williams.    

Makes sense to avoid one less summer fire, but if you live in Franklin County you still can burn pesky tumbleweeds. You just need to call up and let the fire department know what your doing.

"This time of year they have enough wild fires and other safety issues to deal with. This prevents the false alarms," said Jerry Lingo, Franklin County Code Enforcement Officer.   

When we only live across the river from each other you might think the fire danger level would be the same, but different agencies are responsible for Benton and Franklin County and different rules apply when you live within city limits.

The status could change on a daily or weekly basis depending on the county.

To find out the fire danger status and restrictions in Benton County:

Call the Benton Clean Air Authority Burn Line at 946-4489. 

If you have questions how the information applies to where you live you can call 943-3396 and ask for Terry.  

To find out the fire danger status and restrictions for Pasco:

Call the Pasco Burn Line at 544-3098.

To find out the fire danger status and restrictions for Franklin County:

Call the Franklin County Burn Line at 545-3586. 

If you have any questions, or the line doesn't pick up call Jerry Lingo Code Enforcement Officer for Franklin County at 545-3521.

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