Backyard burning returns |

Backyard burning returns

Jim Grant

For the first time since the 7,500-acre TRE Fire last year, backyard burning will resume starting March 25.

East Fork Fire District officials have issued regulations for spring nonagricultural burning, which will appear this week on the district’s website.

Those regulations include a few alterations, including reductions in the distance a burn pile must be from a structure and the firebreak around the fire.

“If they are burning within regulations then, that’s all the room they should need for the pile,” East Fork Fire Capt. Terry Taylor. “We did the math and 10 feet all around the fire is plenty. If they try to build a larger fire with those distances, they should sense that the fire’s too big.”

The regulations require that anyone who wants to burn to call the East Fork burning hotline each day to find out when burning is permitted.

While backyard burning is allowed between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., weather may prompt the fire department to alter the times within those hours.

“The burn line will tell people when it’s safe to burn during the day,” Taylor said.

A backyard burn that attracts firefighters’ attention could result in a revocation of burn privileges or a citation.

“If we come there and find the burn is out of compliance, then the resident should anticipate that we’ll issue a stop order and possibly a citation,” Taylor said. “We’re serious about this. There’s too much money on this and the fuels are too dry to have another TRE fire.”

That fire was started by a backyard burn that rekindled two days later, sending flames across the community of Topaz Ranch Estates, destroying two homes, several outbuildings and a dozen vehicles.

The people responsible for the burn are being prosecuted by Douglas County. Steven Cozad, 30, and his mother, Kim Carlin, 56, face charges of misdemeanor negligent failure to extinguish a fire.

Taylor said a trial date has been set for May 9-10.

For more information about backyard burning, visit the East Fork Fire District’s website at