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The dry vegetation and cotton from cottonwood trees is very flammable. Here's what know about fire danger in the summer. Wochit

Change prompted by potential for fires getting out of control

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AZTEC — As people have been asked to remain at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the San Juan County Fire Department has seen increased calls from residents seeking burn permits.

That trend has prompted some changes. San Juan County announced in a press release on April 6 that the fire department will only accept burn permit applications between 8 a.m. and noon daily.

Increasing numbers of residents burning weeds and other vegetative debris would increase the potential for fires to burn out of control, the press release states. Reducing the time frame when people can get burn permits will help ensure emergency crews are available to respond if the fire gets out of control.

While the hours for obtaining a burn permit have been reduced, all-day burn permit holders are still able to burn all day.

The San Juan County Fire Department posts its daily burn recommendations on Facebook. These recommendations are made based on weather conditions.

Burn permits may be acquired by calling 505-334-1180 on weekdays and calling San Juan County dispatch at 505-334-6622 on holidays and weekends, according to San Juan County spokesperson Devin Neeley. The permits are only available for residents burning vegetative materials, and the resident will be asked about what type of material they plan to burn, if they are the property owner, the location and their contact number.

Fires must be extinguished an hour before sunset and must be kept at least 50 feet away from any structures. Water must be available, and the permit holder must monitor wind conditions, according to the release.

If a burn begins to get out of control, permittees should immediately call 911.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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