[The Dalles, Ore.] Beginning May 15th burning yard debris, material from fuel reduction projects, and other commercial forest slash will be prohibited for lands protected by The Dalles Unit of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). This includes private, municipal, county, and state owned lands within ODF’s protection boundary in Wasco and Hood River counties. Landowners whose property is within a local fire district may be able to obtain a permit from their fire district for yard debris and burn barrels. Escaped debris burning is a leading cause of wildfires in Oregon. Recent precipitation has improved fuel moisture, including in live vegetation, however underlying long-term drought conditions continue to be a concern for firefighters.
“It doesn’t take much for these conditions to change,” says Brian Reel, Stewardship Forester in The Dalles and Fire Behavior Analyst for ODF, “warm afternoon temperatures and a slight breeze can quickly push embers into dry fuels nearby, resulting in an uncontrolled wildfire.”
Burn barrels with a valid burn permit will be allowed. All fire must be extinguished by 11:00 a.m., with the fire attended at all times, and a shovel and water available. Before ignition verify burning is allowed by calling your local fire department or The Dalles Unit of ODF.
Spring is often the time when landowners work to clean up vegetation and yard debris around their property and is the perfect time for cleaning gutters and removing leaves and needles from rooftops to reduce risk of wildfire damage to homes and buildings. Many communities have programs which allow for chipping and disposal of these types of materials at low or no cost to landowners. ODF encourages landowners to take advantage of these “No Burn” opportunities. Contact your landfill and disposal company to learn more about yard debris disposal events this spring. If burning is the only option landowners should plan to wait until after fall rains have reduced the risk of an escaped debris burn.
Landowners can be held financially responsible for the costs of putting the fire out and any damage caused by a fire if they are found to be negligent while burning or burning when burning is not allowed. The responsible party can also be cited for an uncontrolled fire. Debris burning includes field/pastures and irrigation ditch burning intended to reduce thatch as well as other agricultural type burning.
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.