ROAD WORK ALERT: Resurfacing on SW 107th next Saturday

August 7th, 2017 Tracy Posted in safety, Traffic, Transportation, White Center news 1 Comment »

King County Roads has issued an alert for four blocks of SW 107th next Saturday night, in the White Center/North Shorewood area – it’ll be closed between 22nd and 26th SW because “epoxy and anti-skid material (High Friction Surface Treatment) will be applied to increase traction for vehicles. Data shows that this treatment helps dramatically decrease the numbers of crashes.” It’s one of 23 areas around the county where this is being done this summer. It means the road will be fully closed for several hours at a time between 6 pm and 6 am Saturday, August 12th, and: “During this time, there will be no access to driveways and side streets within the project limits.” More here.

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Fireworks go on sale today, but don’t use them until July 4th

June 28th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Holidays, safety, White Center news Comments Off on Fireworks go on sale today, but don’t use them until July 4th

Noon today brings the official start of fireworks sales in unincorporated King County. But you can’t legally use them until next Tuesday – July 4th – 9 am to midnight on that day only. Here are the rules.

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More traffic enforcement for unincorporated areas

June 26th, 2017 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, safety, White Center news Comments Off on More traffic enforcement for unincorporated areas

Announced today by the King County Council:

Communities in unincorporated King County will see increased traffic safety patrols after today’s unanimous approval by the Metropolitan King County Council of funds for emphasis patrols. Sponsored by Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, the legislation allocates funds for an additional 1,100 hours of increased traffic enforcement by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

“I heard concerns about traffic enforcement from residents of unincorporated King County over and over again at my annual town hall meetings,” said Dunn. “Increased visibility by the Sheriff’s office in unincorporated King County will help keep our children and our community’s safe by reminding drivers to obey traffic laws.”

“The number one complaint I hear from residents is speeding in neighborhoods,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart. “These funds will help to address that concern, as well as help to keep our streets safe from drunk drivers.”

Today’s legislation appropriated $100,000 to the Sheriff’s Office and restricts the funds for use in increasing patrols for traffic safety enforcement in Unincorporated King County. Enforcement will focus around schools, patrols for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and speeding drivers.

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Health, safety on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June 2017 meeting

May 28th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Health, North Highline UAC, safety, White Center news Comments Off on Health, safety on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June 2017 meeting

Thursday night, join your area’s community council to talk and hear about health and safety. From the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, the agenda for the June meeting, coming up Thursday:

When: Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station at 1243 SW 112th Street in White Center (Parking and Entrance in the Back of the Station)

Please join North Highline’s volunteer community council at our June 1, 2017 meeting.

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Natural Resources Are Vital to a Healthy Community: Surroundings that don’t encourage daily exercise or provide clean air and nutritious food too often lead to depression, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. King County’s Land Conservation Projects Manager, Charlie Governali, will tell us about the County’s Land Conservation Initiative. The Initiative is an effort to conserve 60,000+ acres, including natural areas, trails, urban greenspaces, farmlands, and forestlands. Which natural resources around North Highline should be protected? Should they be used for walking trails, garden areas, parks or ???

Our Neighborhoods Matter: Carlos Marquez, a Community Service Officer with the KCSO, will be joining us to share two important ways we can help deal with some of the issues facing North Highline. Carlos will explain the importance of Block Watch, how Block Watch works, and the fundamentals of organizing a Block Watch. He will also educate us about the upcoming Citizen’s Police Academy and the different topics it covers. Don’t miss this chance to learn how you can be empowered to help our community!

Our community certainly matters to Deputy Bill Kennamer. Deputy Bill will join us once again to help increase our awareness of what is happening in North Highline.

Good of the Order: Do you have something of community import on your mind? Join us and share!

See you Thursday, June 1st at 7 PM – Because Knowledge Is Power!

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ROAD WORK: Repaving work on SW 107th

May 9th, 2017 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news Comments Off on ROAD WORK: Repaving work on SW 107th

Thanks to Gill for the photo – on Monday, he spotted that repaving project in progress on SW 107th between 22nd SW and 25th SW. He says a nearby resident told him the surface is meant to improve traction in a crash-prone stretch. The King County Road Services website says this was a one-day project and that it’s over.

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SLIDE, OUTAGE: Highland Park Way hill closed

February 15th, 2017 Tracy Posted in safety, Traffic, White Center news Comments Off on SLIDE, OUTAGE: Highland Park Way hill closed

Even if you don’t use Highland Park Way hill in West Seattle, this morning’s slide might be affecting you – either through higher traffic volumes on roads including Roxbury, or possibly with a power outage, as we’ve heard the power is or was out at least as far south as the 9th/Roxbury intersection. We have ongoing coverage on our partner site West Seattle Blog; the closure is expected to last at least through the morning commute, as downed lines are involved and that has to be rendered safe before any cleanup can begin.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash on Olson Place

October 26th, 2016 Tracy Posted in safety, west seattle, White Center news Comments Off on TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash on Olson Place

Thanks to everyone who has been updating us on this crash on Olson Place, east of Roxbury. No injuries, apparently, as Seattle Fire has not been dispatched, but most recently, we are told, it is blocking one lane each way.

The vehicle that spun out is reported to have hit a tree.

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PHOTOS: White Center Bike Playground is open!

October 1st, 2016 Tracy Posted in Fun, safety, White Center news 3 Comments »

Photos by Leda Costa for White Center Now

A red light operator on the course.

Learning can be fun! Just ask the young riders who helped inaugurate the new White Center Bike Playground in Dick Thurnau Memorial Park today – a place to learn how to ride safely, and joyfully.

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Cascade Bicycle Club, the YES! Foundation of White Center, and White Center Community Development Association made it happen – you might recall the community planning meeting back in January. Today’s party offered music, snacks, and some giveaways during the party, including one announced by Senior Director of Education Shannon Koller, with a winner jubilantly raising her hand:

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Cascade Fleet Coordinator Stephen Rowley helped riders with some adjustments:

Cascade Fleet Coordinator Stephen Rowley helping raise the bike seat.

The celebration included a Duwamish Tribe member with a song of gratitude:

Cold Water singing a song.

And King County Council chair Joe McDermott pointed out that while this is the first bike playground in the state, it certainly won’t be the last:

King County Council Chair Joe McDermott speaking at the grand opening.

The stars of the show though were the riders:

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It will evolve – and those who showed up for the party shared ideas for what else it should include:

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Cascade’s Koller told WCN that they hope to have people at the park on the weekends to loan bikes and helmets, to “set up some of the rodeo signs we put out today, do some teaching, potentially do learn to ride if folks are interested in that. Eventually we hope to have summer camps here. We’ve got some high school ride clubs that are nearby, the Major Taylor Project would come out and practice all of these right of way scenarios. It really is for all ages and abilities.”

P.S. If you’re wondering where to find the Bike Playground – Kathy Dunn from West Seattle Bike Connections offered a detailed explanation of how to get there: “If coming from 16th Ave SW, turn east on 107th, go past the White Center Library to 12th Ave SW, jog right one block in front of Mt. View Elementary School, then left at the stop sign onto 108th. Proceed 2 blocks to 10th SW, turn right. Entrance to Dick Thurnau Park is on the left. turn left into the parking lot. The Bike Playground is entered from the very north end of the parking lot where the tennis courts used to be.”

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October 1st grand opening set for what was ‘traffic garden,’ now White Center Community Bicycling Park

September 19th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Parks, safety, White Center news 3 Comments »

Back in January, we reported on the plan for a “traffic garden” at Dick Thurnau Memorial Park. It’s now less than two weeks from opening, and its name has changed to the White Center Community Bicycling Park. Here’s the official flyer for the October 1st celebration:

We’ll add more information as we get it.

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STAGE 1 BURN BAN: Now in effect in unincorporated King County

August 19th, 2016 Tracy Posted in fire, King County, safety, White Center news Comments Off on STAGE 1 BURN BAN: Now in effect in unincorporated King County

Just announced by the county:

The King County Fire Marshal today issued a burn ban in unincorporated areas of the county to prevent wildfires during the hot, dry conditions. In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for this weekend.

This is a Stage 1 burn ban and applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission. Recreational fires can pose a hazard so please use extra caution and consideration this weekend.

Recreational fires must:

-Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not be used as debris disposal

-Grow no larger than three feet in diameter

-Be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure and allow 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches

-Be attended at all times by an alert individual and equipment capable of extinguishing the fire.

For properties located within cities, contact your local jurisdiction for requirements. This ban remains in effect until further notice.

The King County Fire Marshal will post updates on the burn ban on the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review website.

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Fireworks sales begin – here are the rules

June 28th, 2016 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news Comments Off on Fireworks sales begin – here are the rules

Fireworks are still legal in unincorporated King County, and sales have now begun at licensed stands. This year’s rules and restrictions, dates and hours, are all listed here (statewide). But please note that while it’s legal to buy them now, you cannot legally set them off until the 4th of July – next Monday – 9 am to midnight. And they’re not legal in the cities adjacent to unincorporated North Highline.

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FIGHTING CRIME: King County Sheriff’s Office advice on avoiding auto theft

May 26th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, safety, White Center news Comments Off on FIGHTING CRIME: King County Sheriff’s Office advice on avoiding auto theft

The King County Sheriff’s Office deputy who presented the crime briefing at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, Deputy Corbett Ford, has information to share to help you avoid becoming a victim of auto theft. He shares it in Etwo languages, first, English:

Every day someone becomes a victim of auto theft. We all think it isn’t that big of deal until it happens to you. A vehicle is stolen in the United States almost every 46 seconds. In 2014, there were 689,527 reported stolen vehicles. That amounts to more than $4.5 billion US Dollars. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metro area ranked 8th in the nation with 20,268 reported stolen vehicle. This is a problem that affects all of us.

Following are a few Crime Prevention Tips that can help to keep your car from disappearing and ruining your day:

-NEVER leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
-Park in busy and well-lit areas.
-Equip your vehicle with an alarm and other anti-thefts devices.
-Lock your doors and keep the windows closed, even when your vehicle is parked in front of your home.
-Keep your vehicle information where you can get to it quickly.
-Report auto theft immediately. Police need your license plate and vehicle information.

And now, en Español:

Todos los días alguien se convierte en una víctima de robo de autos. Nadie le da importancia hasta que le sucede. Un vehículo es robado en los Estados Unidos casi cada 46 segundos. En el 2014, se reportaron 689.527 vehículos robados. Esta cantidad de autos robados asciende a más $ 4,5 billones de dólares. El área metropolitana de Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue estuvo en el octavo lugar a nivel nacional con 20.268 informes de vehículos robados. Este es un problema que nos afecta a todos.

Siguiendo algunos consejos de prevención del delito usted podria aprender como protejer su vehiculo.

-Nunca deje su vehículo si usted tiene que salir del auto.
-Estacionese en áreas concurridas y bien iluminadas.
-Equipe su vehículo con la alarma y otros dispositivos contra robos.
-Asegure las puertas las puertas y mantenga las ventanas cerradas, incluso cuando el vehículo está -estacionado frente a su casa.
-Mantenga la información de su vehículo donde se puede acceder a ella rápidamente.
-Reporte inmediatamente el robo de su auto. La Policía necesita el numero de la placa y la informacion del vehiculo.

Deputy Ford also shares the Top 10 List of Stolen Vehicles, as reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau for 2014:

1 Honda Accord (1994)
2 Honda Civic (1998)
3 Subaru Legacy (1997)
4 Toyota Camry (1991)
5 Ford Pickup (Full Size, 2000)
6 Acura Integra (1994)
7 Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size, 1998)
8 Honda CR-V (1999)
9 Toyota Corolla (1993)
10 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size, 1999)

Thanks to Deputy Ford for the info – share it with your friends and neighbors!

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For your calendar: April Pool’s Day at Evergreen Aquatic Center

April 12th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, safety, White Center news Comments Off on For your calendar: April Pool’s Day at Evergreen Aquatic Center

Just announced:

One week from Saturday – see you there!

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Why local schools were in lockdown/sheltering for a while today

January 5th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, safety, Schools, White Center news Comments Off on Why local schools were in lockdown/sheltering for a while today

We checked with the King County Sheriff’s Office to find out what was going on after getting two messages about a reported “lockdown” at Cascade Middle School, and hearing scanner traffic about someone being tracked down on SW 117th. According to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West, there was a report that someone at the Evergreen campus might have had a gun. So the search was on, and Evergreen and Cascade were affected for a while, she said. The person in question was eventually found – no gun. No injuries, no crime, situation over.

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Mount View Elementary student ‘grabbed by a stranger’

October 28th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news Comments Off on Mount View Elementary student ‘grabbed by a stranger’

Thanks to the reader who shared this note received by families of Mount View Elementary students:

Dear Mount View Families:

We have learned about an incident in our neighborhood (of which) we want to make you aware.

(Monday) morning while walking to school, one of our students was grabbed by a stranger. Thankfully, the student was able to get free of the person and run to school. He reported the incident to an adult at school. Police responded and searched for the suspect but did not locate him.

We are sharing this information with you so that you may take appropriate precautions. Here at school, our staff will remain vigilant and our district security officers will have a heightened presence at times when students are outdoors.

This is an opportunity to have a discussion with your children reminding them of these precautions when walking to and from school.

Be aware of your surroundings.
Walk with a friend whenever possible.
If anyone approaches you or you feel threatened, report it immediately to a trusted adult.
We know this kind of situation can be alarming. Our students’ safety is of the utmost importance and we encourage you to talk with your children.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5’8” with mid-length brown hair, wearing a black coat, blue sweats, and white Adidas shoes.

If you have information about this incident, you are asked to call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311.

Sincerely,

Lisa Escobar
Principal

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PHOTOS: Cleanup at ‘The Bog,’ before and after

October 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news 5 Comments »

We’ve reported before on efforts to clean up “The Bog” – and to make it less conducive to illegal camping, drug use, and crime. Aside from other concerns raised by those activities, the fact is that the area needs to stay clean because of its role in the area’s drainage system (as today’s rain reminds us).

The latest cleanup was a big one, and community member Gill Loring shares photos as well as post-cleanup info from King County senior engineer Ken Gresset, who, as we’ve reported here previously, has been leading cleanup efforts:

This past weekend, Ken and a group “Friends of the Trail” (their second time helping out) as well as a NH resident and her daughter got to it.

Excerpted from Ken’s e-mail: “Many thanks to all involved for a great cleanup last weekend. The group “Friends of the Trail” led by Wade Holden pulled out all the stops over two days and took 8 large truckloads of debris to the dump along with around 40 syringes.

Many thanks to Deputies Kennamer, Paul and Syson for their onsite security work and for Captain Boe for arranging their presence. Thanks also to North Highline residents Christine and her daughter who braved the onsite conditions to help out. The Sheriff’s department gave the campers three weeks of almost constant notice that the cleanup was coming and to take any possessions they wanted to keep with them.

On another bright note we did encounter one of the campers who seemed sincerely interested in getting help and we are working with a neighbor who knows her to get her connected to social services.”

Excerpted from another e-mail: “I walked all of the trails today. I didn’t find any camps and only encountered one person in the area. I explained the trespass laws to him and he moved along.

The key is going to be continued police presence to make the place unattractive to the illegal users. As soon as the place is posted, we will start enforcing the trespass laws. The place looks great!”

And from the North Highline resident who helped: “My daughter & I were able to help for about an hour or so…It was disgusting, smelled really bad back there & yet people were willing to live in that! Ken, the “trails crew” was great! They pulled out several mattresses, sofa, tv, clothes & crap – yes, really! Hopefully in the future there can be a work party to start clearing out some of that brush to open things up a bit more! I’d be there, just let me know when!”

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‘Traffic garden’ in the works for Lakewood Park

October 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Lakewood Park, Parks, safety, White Center news Comments Off on ‘Traffic garden’ in the works for Lakewood Park

From the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s newsletter, word of something new on the way to Lakewood Park:

The Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation is honored to be the recipient of a 2016 Youth Sports Facilities grant from King County Parks. This grant will provide $75,000 for the creation of a new traffic garden in White Center in Lakewood Park.

The White Center traffic garden will be a bicycle skills park where learners of all ages and abilities can practice bicycling in a safe, car-free environment. With on-site bicycle storage, traffic signs and real-world infrastructure elements, the Traffic Garden will be the perfect place to come and learn about bicycle safety.

The newsletter says groundbreaking is expected early next year, “with programming beginning in the spring.” We’ll be checking with Cascade later today to find out more.

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FOLLOWUP: State has the authority to call for an emergency fireworks ban, but doesn’t think it’s needed

June 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news 2 Comments »

Following up on our Wednesday report about a petition drive in which community advocates from here and West Hill asked for an emergency ban on fireworks: County leaders told us they don’t have the authority to do anything immediate, but that the state does. We finally got a chance today to inquire with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Deputy Fire Marshal Lysandra Davis replied, saying that only the governor has that authority, but that calling for one isn’t warranted right now. Here’s the entire reply:

Our office has received numerous inquiries on this matter, and we value and appreciate each and every one.

Because Washington is a Home Rule State, legislative authority to limit or prohibit the sale, purchase, possession, and/or use of consumer fireworks is only granted to city, municipal, and county governments. However, any ordinance adopted by a county or city has an effective date no sooner than one year after its adoption, per RCW 70.77.250 (4). Because State Fireworks Law does not provide the SFMO or any other local jurisdiction/agency the authority to temporarily ban
fireworks, even on an emergency basis, it is unlawful to do so.

The only person with the authority to issue a temporary ban on fireworks sales/usage is Governor Jay Inslee. This would be done through a State of Emergency Proclamation which normally prohibits activities that the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or public peace. In the past, when emergency proclamations have been issued during heavy wildland fires (usually occurring mid-July to August), fireworks usage and sales were already prohibited by State Fireworks Law.

The current burn ban that is in effect only applies to state forests, state parks and forestlands under Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fire protection, including Department of Fish and Wildlife lands; it does not include cities, municipalities and/or counties. This ban prohibits outdoor burning and fireworks and incendiary devices (which are never legal on DNR-protected forestlands).

While these drought conditions we are facing may be unprecedented, there is not a current statewide fire emergency that would warrant the Governor to declare a State ban on fireworks.

What I can assure you of is that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is committed to promoting fire safety and injury prevention year round with our Celebrate Safely and Legally campaign — emphasizing “personal responsibility,” especially during these extremely dry weather conditions.

So it looks like fireworks will be on sale, as planned, in unincorporated King County starting this Sunday, where the law allows their use 9 am-midnight on July 4th.

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Petition drive launched to ban fireworks in unincorporated King County this year

June 24th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news 3 Comments »

(A version of this is also published on our partner site West Seattle Blog)

Community leaders from the unincorporated areas of North Highline and West Hill have just launched a petition drive asking county leaders for an emergency fireworks ban because of drought conditions and exceptionally dry weather/vegetation – the petition is on this Change.org page. The petition is addressed to the County Executive and County Fire Marshal. Right now, fireworks sales in the unincorporated area are scheduled to start at noon on Sunday.

But is that even possible? After publishing this on our partner site West Seattle Blog a little earlier, we spoke with Jim Chan in the King County Permitting and Environmental Review department, which oversees the Fire Marshal’s Office. He says the same thing that WSB commenter Karen reported being told by the County Executive’s Office – that the county has no authority for an emergency ban; any ban couldn’t take effect for a year. Chan says a few Washington counties’ laws enable such a ban – Douglas and San Juan Counties, he mentioned – but for King County, that sort of authority has just never come up. We asked if the state would have authority, then, to take an action that could enable an immediate emergency local ban, and he said yes. So we’ll be checking next with the state Fire Marshal’s Office. Meantime, we were forwarded a news release that the county Fire Marshal’s Office had been planning to issue, saying only this:

King County fire agencies are urging citizens to attend one of the many professional public fireworks displays during the Fourth of July weekend. Prolonged dry weather and below average spring rainfall have cured grass and vegetation growth, creating high fire danger nearly six weeks earlier than normal. Last year in King County fire agencies responded to nearly 200 fire calls with 82 of them related to fireworks, as reported in the 2014 Washington State Fire Marshal report.

While it is not advisable to light fireworks, follow the three B’s – Be Prepared, Be Safe, and Be Responsible. Retail fireworks go on sale June 28 through July 4 and in those communities that allow fireworks, discharge is limited to July 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. only.

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Stage 1 burn ban ordered for unincorporated King County as of Monday

June 19th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news 1 Comment »

Just announced:

Due to unseasonably dry conditions, little expected rainfall in the near future, and a low snowpack, the King County Fire Marshal is issuing a fire safety burn ban in unincorporated areas of the county effective June 22.

Sky lanterns are not allowed under the burn ban.

This is a Phase 1 burn ban and applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or on private property with the owner’s permission. Recreational fires must:

*Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not be used as debris disposal

*Grow no larger than three feet in diameter

*Be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure and allow 20 foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches

*Be attended at all times by an alert individual with equipment capable of extinguishing the fire.

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