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California Banning Burning On 31 Million Acres

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(Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (AP) – Open burning is being banned on 31 million acres of land throughout California because of the threat wildfires due to the lengthening drought.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott announced Wednesday that his 21 unit chiefs and six contract county fire chiefs have been ordered to issue local burning suspensions by July 1.

The state firefighting agency has already responded to more than 2,100 fires this year, a 70 percent increase over the average number for the same time period.

The bans in state responsibility areas totaling more than 48,000 square miles include suspension of all residential burn permits and burning for forest management, hazard abatement and industrial purposes.

Campfires may be exempted from the ban in designated areas.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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