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C.O. fire chiefs set May 1 close to debris burning season


The Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association announced Tuesday the date of closing for residential and private lands open debris burning across the tri-county region in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.

Fire chiefs from the local municipal and rural fire departments, along with state and federal partners, have determined due to existing environmental conditions this year that outdoor burning of debris and agricultural burns on private lands (with the exception of the Jefferson County Smoke Management area) will close as of midnight on Friday, May 1.

“In order to best serve our residents throughout Central Oregon with fire and EMS protection, Central Oregon fire chiefs each year jointly select a common closing date to avoid escaped residential debris and agricultural burns on private lands,” said Mike Supkis, chief of the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District and chair of the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association.

“The snowpack and annual moisture levels are at a record lows this year. With the warmer weather the potential for escaped debris burns is greatly increasing as well as the threat of larger fires. Our agencies have already responded to escaped burns this spring which is earlier than normal,” Chief Supkis said.

“Even though specific areas in Central Oregon still may receive a bit of rain or even a spring snow shower before or after the closure, the region as a whole is experiencing an extreme drought this year and all our fire agencies across Central Oregon will need to rely on and support each other this year when a wildfire fire breaks out,” he added.

The Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association strongly urges homeowners to prepare their property for the upcoming fire season now before there is smoke on the horizon. Fortunately, there are alternatives to burning yard debris.

The spring FireFree events in Deschutes and Jefferson counties provides this opportunity for local residents to dispose of their debris inexpensively and legally. The FireFree days will begin on May 1 and will be available for selected dates during the month in numerous locations to all Central Oregon residents.

The Central Oregon fire chiefs’ federal partners (US Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management) will still be performing prescribed burns throughout the region in preparation of fire season, even after burn season closes on private lands.

These prescribed burns will be conducted under carefully planned conditions such as: with federal fire resources, professional fire managers and firefighters on scene, favorable weather conditions and carefully planned land plots.

These prescribed burns improve forest health and reduce the forest fuels in order to lower the wildfire risk to our communities that is ever present later in the season when the conditions are even more extreme.

Residents are strongly encouraged to contact their local fire protection agencies for additional burning information and regulations. All Central Oregon fire departments and rural fire districts will continue to monitor weather and fuel moisture conditions in their district and may make modifications on a day-to-day basis.

Please call your local outdoor burning information line for your current conditions. If conditions become dryer, individual agencies may choose to close local burning sooner. Fire agencies will monitor fuels and fire conditions throughout the summer and anticipate the opening of burn season again in late fall.

Visit the FireFree website at or call 541-322-7129 for the FireFree dates or more information about how you can prepare your property for wildfire season.

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