Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 Fire Season ends for private lands in central Oregon

The 2016 Fire Season for lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District (COD) will terminate at 12:01 am October 14, 2016.  Powerful winter storms are expected to cross central Oregon starting today, bringing moisture and cooler conditions, reducing the risk of wildfire.  “Reducing is the key word,” says Ben Duda, Sisters’ Assistant Unit Forester.  “We all need to be cautious and responsible in our activities.  Just because fire season is over doesn’t mean things won’t burn.”

COD firefighters have responded to ninety-seven fires in 2016, burning 2,456 acres.  Twenty-three of these fires were caused by lightning, but 77% of the fires were human caused.  Topping the list for human caused fires is escaped debris burns and campfires which are not fully extinguished.  Fall weather can vary day to day, cold temperatures and wind can dry fuels and fan flames when fires are left unattended or not DEAD OUT.

Uncontrolled fire can result in citations and fines, as well as liability for any costs associated with suppression of the fire.  Consider alternatives to burning such as chipping, composting and debris removal programs through your local landfill. 
Following these tips will help reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire:
  • Check with your local fire agency to determine if you need a permit, what restrictions are in place, and if it is a burn day.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Keep fires small and manageable.
  • Do not burn on windy days.
  • Have water and a shovel available.
  • Clear the area around the fire to mineral soil.
  • To extinguish your fire:  Drown with water and stir until it is cold to the touch.
  • Report any uncontrolled fire to 9-1-1.
Additional information can be found on ODF’s Fire Prevention webpage:
Termination of fire season brings an increase in outdoor burning from activities such as fuel reduction, yard debris clean-up, and operations to reduce slash in managed forests.  Over the next few weeks smoke columns will be visible throughout central Oregon.
The process for obtaining burn permits has changed in some Units of COD.  Please check with your local office for information regarding burn permits from ODF.  Contact information for local ODF Offices can be found on the District’s webpage:  Requests for burn permits can also be entered on the website.