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Still fire season in Nevada County, despite recent rain

No doubt the storm that soaked western Nevada County with more than an inch of rain in the past few days has been welcomed as a blessing, helping to clear the air of smoke and knock down the nearby Mosquito Fire burning over 75,000 acres in the Foresthill area, with 39% containment as of Tuesday morning.

But while we all breathe a bit easier with the early season rain, that doesn’t mean fire season is over or that the danger of a blaze breaking out has diminished all that much. With the forecast calling for sunny skies and warmer temps, it won’t be long till things dry out again.

What does this mean for you? As those coffee mugs and T-shirts you’ve spotted around town so clearly state:

“Fire season is here. Don’t do anything stupid.”

Yes, fire season is still here. And that’s why residential burning currently remains banned in the community, regardless of how wet things are at the moment. On Sunday morning, a Dog Bar Road resident learned that even with moisture in the air the danger persists, as does the countywide burn ban ordered by Cal Fire in May. 

According to, a neighbor reported a possible vegetation fire on Dog Bar Road in the Higgins area, leading to an emergency response. Soon after, the response was canceled as it was discovered that a homeowner had lit a burn pile but was extinguishing it within minutes of the report being made.

“The outdoor burn ban is still in effect,” YubaNet’s report reminded.

When will burning be allowed in weeks to come? The end of the ban each year varies with the amount of rainfall that saturates the soil enough to make it safe to burn, as many area residents do each year to dispose of debris from removing trees, brush and other vegetation to make their homes more fire safe. (And it’s important to conduct such work in a way that doesn’t increase the danger of a fire occurring, whether operating machinery and equipment or disposing of the slash left behind.)

Last year, the countywide burn ban was lifted Oct. 22. In other recent years it’s been lifted in November.

But regardless of when open burning is again allowed, make sure you know the rules as to whether a permit is necessary and if burning is allowed on any given day … before you light that burn pile. There are “No Burn” days that prohibit burning when conditions, such as high winds, increase the threat of wildfire. 

Once burning is allowed again, be sure check burn day status by visiting the Northern Sierra Air Quality District by clicking here:

“All residential burning is prohibited until further notice,” the district site currently states. “Burning is always prohibited inside the city limits of Nevada City and Grass Valley.”

Brian Hamilton is a Realtor (Lic.# 02149112) and assistant to the regional manager for the Betsy Hamilton Real Estate Team (Lic.# 01936209) at RE/MAX Gold (Lic#: 01949144) in Grass Valley. For more information, contact him at or visit

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