If you want to rub two sticks together around here, you have to go get a burn permit. So I leave my house in a 4000 pound (ish) SUV, drive 5 miles to the nearest Fire Station, and then hand the Fire-Fighter my ID. (If I was just doing something as unimportant as, say voting, they could just check my name off a list.)
He fills out a form, hands it to me, and reminds me not to burn before 5pm. I get back in my SUV, drive home and, at the appointed time, burn. There are very few variables to this formula, and almost any fire requires a permit. But unless you lose control of it, no one ever stops by to check on you, even if you use the permit to start the fire.
HB 1711 makes the bold assertion that some camp and cook fires, that you start on your property, should be permissible without all the four-play. And yet for some reason, it appears to have come out of committee as inexpedient to legislate? Why?
The new language seems simple enough…
Category one camp or cooking fires may be kindled on private property without a permit or written permission of the forest fire warden or acting agent of the town in which the fire is to be kindled if no fire drought warning has been issued and as long as such fires are kindled in suitable places where they will not endanger woodlands. For purposes of this paragraph, “category one fire” means a small controlled fire, such as a camp or cooking fire, no greater than 2 feet in diameter within a ring of fire resistant material or in a permanent or portable fireplace.
My first guess was that the committee prefers to leave this as a matter for local control, but the state statute already denies a large measure of interpretation. Towns must be at least as strict as the statute and no one changed the bill to open up the options for towns to make their own call.
My second guess was that someone lead them to believe that a state full of gun-toting, free thinking, Granite Staters, who can freely burn explosive gasses in enclosed metal grills, next to their homes, without permits, might burn down all the trees if we let them burn wood on the ground without one. That would solve a few of the power outage problems come the next ice storm but kiss tourism goodbye unless we erect a few thousand giant statues and try to sell the place as the Easter Island of the northeast.
Which leaves me wondering still. I have put out a feeler or two. This will probably go the floor of the House this week as ITL. I’d love to understand why before the vote.