Burn Season Underway in Washoe County

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WASHOE COUNTY, NV -- You may have noticed it around the Washoe County sky line on Tuesday, a little more smoke in the air. Saturday marked the start of burn season. It's a time when excess vegetation in parts of the county, goes up in smoke.

During the fall, burning was canceled because of the dry conditions. We have had a little bit of rain recently, so fire officials say it is currently safe to burn. The nine day long season is already half over.

"We're just burning out all the weeds and anything that might clog up the system, We'll burn as long as we can safely," said Rob Miller with the Sparks Drains Department.

Normally during a controlled burn, you would see fire crews on its side, but not right now. That is because the average public is allowed to burn in certain areas for the next few days. For the most part, burning is only allowed in Washoe County.

"We need to be sure that the piles are small, they have tools for extinguishment, that we don't get an over abundance of smoke and we don't get a condition where the fire escapes and it endangers homes," said Amy Ray, Fire Marshal with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

The burn season is very short, March 1st- 9th. Right now is when the fuels are the right moisture to burn safely.

"We've had a couple recent storms which mean our fuel moistures are up and we actually have some storms that are coming in so there is a chance we will shut down storms for Wednesday and Thursday," said Ray.

Permits must be obtained for burning. They come with a page full of safety restrictions. It can still be dangerous to burn, but having a fire now is safer than having a fire later.

"We're trying to allow residents to create their defensible and survivable space," said Ray.

For the most part, burning is limited to Washoe County areas, but there are instances where it can be allowed in certain sections of Reno and Sparks. In any event, permits must be obtained for burn piles.

If we do have another cold snap, you wont have to worry about the burn code for your wood stove, those restrictions were lifted as of March 1st.