As winter weather descends on Riverside County, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins is lifting the suspension of open burning for all areas in Riverside County effective Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 8 a.m.
He is also reopening some hazardous fire areas for public use.
According to Murrieta Fire Department Chief Matthew Shobert, his city is also lifting the ban.
However, Hawkins is warning the wildfire risk doesn’t let up here.
“The threat of wildfires in Riverside County is a year-round concern,” he said in a released statement. “We encourage the public to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor areas in Riverside County, while remaining vigilant that there is still dry brush out there that can easily ignite and start a fire.”
According to the chief, open burning is defined as:
1. Use of campfires restricted to areas within established campfire facilities, located in established campgrounds open to the public.
2. Agricultural burning in the Palo Verde Valley and Coachella Valley authorized as required for agricultural rehabilitation.
3. Cooking fires with a valid permit; permissive when no alternate means of cooking is available and requires an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit.
4. Warming fires; permissive and require an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit when weather conditions exist to justify the request.
Also, effective Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 8 a.m., Hawkins will reopen hazardous fire areas for public use in the following areas:
• Avery Canyon (Gibbel Road east of State Street in Hemet)
• North Mountain and Indian Canyon (San Jacinto area)
• Whitewater Canyon (Cabazon, north of Palm Springs)
• Nuevo/Lakeview (east of Menifee Road and San Jacinto Avenue)
• Minto (Sage)
• Reinhardt Canyon (north of Highway 74 and California Avenue in Hemet)
• Ramona Bowl and Bautista Canyon (southeast Hemet)
Expect the open burn ban and the closure of hazardous fire areas next year as wildfire conditions intensify during the warmer months. In June 2013, Shobert announced the suspension of burn permits in Murrieta.