Fire & Life Safety

Safety Tips

Burning Dos and Don’ts

Outdoor burning may be restricted depending on type of burning and the time of year.  These restrictions are intended to reduce fire danger and protect public health.

CURRENT BURN CONDITIONS – Spokane Regional Clean Air  (477-4727) maintains a list. Read more.

BURN GUIDELINES – Use this flowchart to help you decide if the burning you are considering is allowed.

Never Allowed – Outdoor burning for disposal purposes is illegal in SVFD’s service area, including:

  • Garbage – burning garbage is prohibited in Washington State
  • Yard and garden debris – including garden trimmings, tree branches, grass clippings, leaves, needles, etc., that originates on the maintained, improved area of a property. Read more about alternatives to burning yard debris.
  • Burn Barrels – outlawed in Washington State in 2000. Smoke from burn barrels is noxious because the fires burn at low temperatures, receiving very little oxygen and producing excessive smoke and other toxic substances.
  • Outdoor Wood-Fired Hydronic Heaters (residential) – also called outdoor wood-fired boilers, used to heat water which is piped to buildings to provide heat and hot water. These units emit unhealthy levels of smoke and air pollutants.

May Be Allowed – Depending on geographic location and time of year, some types of outdoor burning may be legal:

  • Recreational Fires – such as backyard fire pits or campfires using approved fuels such as seasoned chopped firewood, charcoal, natural gas or propane. Recreational fires may be allowed or prohibited, depending on the season of the year. Generally, during the hot dry summer months, a Fire Danger Burn Restriction is ordered by SVFD.
  • Designated Campfires – in state parks and campgrounds may be allowed as approved and determined by agencies with jurisdiction – regulated by the Department of Natural Resources. Read more.
  • Silvicultural Natural Debris from Unimproved Property – depending on where you live, you may be able to burn natural vegetation from acreage beyond maintained, improved areas of property – with a permit. Call Spokane Clean Air to check burning boundary maps. For a burn permit, call the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 509-685-6900.

Allowed – With approved fuels in devices used appropriately:

  • Manufactured portable outdoor devices – fireplaces, chimineas, barbeques and patio warmers used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Approved fuels in appropriate device – clean and dry seasoned firewood, charcoal, natural gas or propane gas

Consequences – financial impact to residents who fails to follow outdoor burning regulations

  • Backyard fires – that get out of control set off most of the wildfires caused by people. You can be held responsible for the cost of putting out your out-of-control fire and any property damage it caused, which can be very costly
  • Illegal burning – SVFD tracks all “burning” incident calls. On the second incident, a warning letter is issued. On the third incident, SVFD sends the information to Spokane Clean Air to impose a fine, which can range from $800-$10,000.
  • Compliance – any person found with a recreational fire or conducting open burning who fails to take immediate action to extinguish or otherwise discontinue such burning when ordered or notified to do so shall be charged with a misdemeanor (IFC 109; SCC 3.02)

Did you Know?

 

  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Burch is co-owner and Business Manager of Neurotherapy Northwest. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”

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