Chad Clark

Chad Clark

Guest Columnist

School is out and July is upon us, marking another great summer ahead.

As usual, July is the month for carnivals, parades, fireworks, outdoor campfires, etc.

I wanted to send out a couple reminders as this is also the dry time of year.

This is a message from the Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office about recreational fires within unincorporated areas of the county:

Recreational fires are outdoor burning of propane, charcoal or firewood (not debris or rubbish) and must be contained in an outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or pit.

Here are some requirements:

n Attendance: Fires must be constantly attended by a person 16 years or older who is capable of extinguishing the fire (alert, sober, awake) until the fire is extinguished.

n Size: The fire diameter must be less than 4 feet in size.

n Location: The fires must be 25 feet away from any structures or standing timber.

n Tools: The attendant must have approved fire extinguishing equipment on hand for immediate use. Such equipment includes a charged garden hose or two five-gallon buckets of water on site. A shovel, or rake must be on site.

n Permission: The landowner must give permission if the fire is not on your property. This includes State Parks, County Parks, DNR-owned land and USFS-owned land. Please check with them for any restrictions prior to lighting a recreational fire.

The recreational fire must not create a nuisance. Smoke odor or ash that unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties is prohibited.

Burn Ban: The Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office, Department of Natural Resources or Northwest Clean Air Authority can ban all outdoor burning including recreational fires. If a burn ban has been issued, it may be advertised in media, print or online. For further information or current burn ban information, see below:

Skagit County Burn Information Line: 360-416-1840

DNR Dispatch: 360-856-3500

Northwest Clean Air Authority: 360-428-1617

Check local restrictions for within city limits, as they are all different.

Call 911 for any fire emergency.

As far as the Big Lake Fireworks event on Wednesday, please remember that parking out on West Big Lake Blvd is limited as the shoulders do not have the capacity for many bigger vehicles.

If the Sheriff’s Office finds a vehicle that is parked in the traveled portion of the roadway the vehicle will be towed.

Here are some other tips:

n If you are walking on the shoulder of the public road or in the road please do not have open containers of alcohol. Also please be very mindful of traffic in the area especially just before dark when most people are trying to find their ideal spot for the fireworks show.

n Have patience. Thousands of people converge to Big Lake for the outstanding fireworks show, but the traffic is at times at a standstill when people are leaving.

n Traffic control will be letting traffic out in an organized manner, please do not drive in a reckless manner.

n Do not drink and drive. There are extra law enforcement in the area for the show. Every year drivers are arrested for DUI. We want that number to go to zero.

n If you are hosting a party please have an area on your property for cars to park.

Please enjoy everything our county has to offer this month, but be careful with fires and fireworks as the trees and grasses could easily catch fire. The last thing we want is to be fighting a large forest fire that can endanger homes.

— Chad Clark is undersheriff for the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to

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