Even with the campfire ban on public lands, it is still okay to have a warming fire in your backyard in most Central Oregon cities and towns, except in the Sunriver, Sisters and Camp Sherman areas.
Make sure to follow each fire jurisdiction’s outdoor burning regulations.
“If you are going to have a backyard warming fire, if it’s a fire pit style like a campfire with a rock ring, they can be no more than three feet in diameter by two feet in height,” said Cindy Kettering, Deputy Fire Marshal for Bend Fire & Rescue. “They need to be about 25 feet away, at minimum, from structures. Also check around the area. You need to have 10 feet of clear space all around a campfire.”
All backyard campfires, including those in manufactured fire pits that use propane or natural gas, must be closely attended.
“Is it smart? I think in most cases the answer is no,” Kettering said. “When we have these really warm days, do you really need a warming fire outside? Even though it’s permitted, it’s still not wise in many cases.”
If your backyard campfire gets away from you and damages neighboring properties, you can be held liable for damage as well as fire suppression costs.
Portable propane powered fire rings are permitted on BLM and Forest Service land because they don’t emit sparks.
Prineville Reservoir, Smith Rock and the Cove Palisades state parks have banned the same devices, so be sure to check with the appropriate land management agency before firing up all flame-carrying devices.
Gas powered cooking stoves and lanterns are permitted on all lands at this time.
Anyone who wants to have a backyard warming or camping fire must check with their local fire district to ensure burning is allowed.
They must know the outdoor burning regulations, all of which require having a shovel and water available and maintaining a watch on the fire at all times.