State fire officials have announced a ban on outdoor burning in several Bay Area counties because of dry conditions and a jump in fires statewide.

The ban went into effect Thursday and prohibits open burning in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito counties and parts of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, according to Cal Fire spokesman Officer Daniel Berlant.

No burning of leaves, branches, or other landscape debris is allowed. Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds.

Residents in counties outside the ban area, such as in the North Bay, must obtain a permit at a Cal Fire fire station for outdoor burns, Berlant said.

So far this year, the state has seen a rise in the number of fires compared to last year. In the first four months of 2014, firefighters have battled 1,200 fires, Berlant said. Over the same period in 2013, there were 550 fires, he said.

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.



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