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Fire season set to end in Oregon Dept. of Forestry’s Central Oregon District

Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Slash pile burning not permitted, pending more precipitation; 'people (still) need to be careful'

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Fire season in the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District will end at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, the agency said Thursday. 

Cooler fall temperatures and periodic moisture has reduced fire behavior and improved fuel conditions across the district. However, ODF said, burning of slash piles or other debris from forest operations or fuels treatment projects will not be permitted until additional precipitation is received. 

“Ending fire season doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of wildfire,” emphasized Frank Jones, ODF's wildland fire supervisor in Prineville. “People need to be careful if they are burning, or engaging in any other activity that could spark a fire.  This is the time to be attentive and cautious.”  

Human-caused fires account for 62% (72 fires) of the fires in the Central Oregon District this year, 110% of the 10-year average. 

Typically, there is an increase in human caused fires just before the start of fire season, and just after fire season ends.  These uncontrolled fires are often linked to careless debris burning or burning in windy conditions and abandoned campfires, ODF said.  

With the termination of fire season, burning yard debris and the use of burn barrels is allowed. However, these fires should be kept small, and any surrounding fuel should be cleared away to reduce potential spread. 

A fire tool, such as a shovel, and water or a fire extinguisher should be available to help control the fire if needed. Fires should not be left unattended, should be DEAD OUT! and cool to the touch when you leave. 

Check with your local fire district for burning regulations in your area, including restrictions on campfires and recreational fires. Failure to follow burn permit instructions or burning on days when burning is not allowed may result in a citation or liability for fire suppression work. 

  • John Day Unit—Burning yard debris and burn barrels is allowed. No permit is required from ODF, check with your local fire department to determine if they require a permit.
  • Prineville Unit (Sisters Sub-Unit)—A burn permit from ODF or your local fire department is required for burning yard debris or using a burn barrel. 
  • The Dalles Unit—A burn permit from ODF or your local fire department is required for burning yard debris or using a burn barrel. 

When burning, it is important to monitor the weather and be prepared for shifting and erratic winds which may spread fire outside the burn area.   Wildfires cause damage to Oregon’s natural resources, including affecting water, soil and air quality and impact local communities.

Fire season in the Central Oregon District began June 1st this year, lasting 137 days. In addition to the 72 human-caused wildfires, which burned 2,632 acres, there were 44 wildfires caused by lightning, which burned 2,432 acres. Lightning fires were 66% of the 10-year average. Overall, 5,063 acres were burned across Central Oregon District-protected lands, 58% of the 10-year average, and 85 percent of the fires were contained at less than 10 acres.    

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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