BY BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Recent cool temperatures and precipitation have brought an end to fire season in Central Oregon. But, that doesn’t mean you can light bonfires on public lands or burn debris piles in your yard just yet.
The end of fire season has more to do with the easing of restrictions on industrial activities on public lands.
It signals the approach of debris burning season on private lands which has it own set of regulations.
Firefighters responded to 126 fires across the 2.3 million acres the Oregon Department of Forestry protects in Central Oregon. Only 230 acres burned year to date which is about 3% of the ten year average for this area.
“This year was kind of an anomaly to be honest. We didn’t have the fire starts. We had a lot of moisture compared to previous years,” said Allison Green, coordinator for Central Oregon Cohesive Strategy, a wildfire prevention and awareness organization. “It kind of gave Central Oregonians a reprieve from smoke. We really didn’t have the intense fire season that we’ve been seeing the last decade or so.
Of this year’s 126 fires, 77 were started by lightning. Humans caused 49.
Quick, coordinated responses by firefighters, wet thunderstorms and availability of firefighting resources all contributed to this year’s unusually mild fire season.
And now that fire season is over, debris burning season is set to begin October 1st, except in Bend, Sisters and Sunriver where year round fire restrictions are in effect.
“Make sure you call your fire district in particular. If you just Google your local fire district, it will pop up. They typically have a burn line that will tell you if each day is a burn day,” Green said. “Sometimes even if we are smack-dab in the middle of outdoor burning season we have high winds or a really hot, dry day and then its not safe to burn that day. Make sure it’s a burn day. Make sure you have a permit and make sure you have all the safety precautions—water, a shovel, things of that nature so that burn doesn’t get away from you when you implement it during burn season.”
For residents who are uncomfortable burning, or are in areas where burning is not allowed, FireFree yard debris disposal events are planned in November.
Check FireFree.org for dates of those events.