Monday, October 27, 2014

Fire Season Ends in Northeast Oregon

As of 12:01 p.m. on October 23, 2014, fire season is officially terminated for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Northeast Oregon District.  This includes private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Grant, Malheur, and Morrow.  Scattered rain showers throughout the district over the past few weeks combined with cooler fall temperatures has reduced the fire danger.  However, John Buckman, Northeast Oregon District Forester reminds the public to implement safe practices when using fire in the fall months. “Fall is a good time to burn forest slash or yard debris but please recognize that just one sunny and windy day can change conditions very quickly.  Each fall we respond to escape fires so please continue to use fire in a responsible manner.”  Technical advice for burning and smoke management can be obtained from your local ODF office. 
With the termination of fire season, requirements such as providing fire-fighting equipment at logging sites or obtaining a burning permit for burn barrels are no longer in effect.  However, terminating fire season does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash.  Windy conditions combined with warm weather could cause unpredictable fire behavior.  
Specific Smoke Management/Burning Advisory Information:
·         Unless you are in a rural or city fire department protection area, burn permits for burn barrels and small amounts of yard debris are not required. If you are under the protection of a rural or city fire department, please call and ask what their burning restrictions are.  Burning within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation requires a permit from the CTUIR.  Follow all requirements within the permit.
·         Burning of slash from forestry and logging activities requires a Notification of Operation/PDM from the Oregon Department of Forestry.  In addition to this permit, the local Oregon Department of Forestry office must be contacted prior to ignition. 
Before burning in northeast Oregon, it is important to check weather conditions related to smoke management.  For smoke management forecasts call (541) 963-9781 or visit the following website:
·         Slash Burns must be registered with the local Oregon Department of Forestry office at least 7 days prior to burning and burning accomplishments reported within 7 days after burning.
The Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry would like to thank forest landowners, forest operators and the public for their efforts in fire prevention, detection, and suppression activities this season.    After back to back record fire seasons for the State of Oregon the Northeast Oregon District was again able to keep acres burned below the ten year average of 2,207 acres.  Firefighters in the district suppressed 105 fires, burning just 1,038 acres.  Additional resources such as helicopters, dozers and single engine air tankers, partially paid for with General Fund monies from the State of Oregon helped significantly to check fire spread quickly in a year where there were numerous large fires burned throughout the state.  These additional resources were part of the coordinated effort used by ODF which also included rural fire departments, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, local contractors, landowners, and a long standing relationship with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.  
For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at these local offices:           
            La Grande Unit                          (541) 963-3168
            Baker City Sub-Unit                   (541) 523-5831
            Wallowa Unit                             (541) 886-2881
            Pendleton Unit                          (541) 276-3491  
 To report a fire, call 9-1-1.

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