Outdoor debris burning opens Tuesday in many Central Oregon fire districts. In those areas where outdoor burning is allowed, permits are required.
And guess what? There’s an app for that.
“That populated my address because it’s in my account. Then we have terms and conditions which you have to read and understand and that’s it,” said Julie Spor, a Sisters area resident as she signed up for a burn permit.
Four years ago, the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Protection District developed the “Burn Permits” app to make it easier for residents to obtain burn permits.
The program is now used by numerous fire departments in Oregon and other states. It has multiple benefits.
“It’s not uncommon that a citizen will see smoke in the area and they’ll call 911 and report it as a possible fire. It’s possible for us on the back end of this system to see who is burning. See if it is likely a controlled burn and then we can gauge the response and the number of units we send,” said Roger Johnson, Chief of the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Protection District.
The burn permit app allows fire districts to notify users of changing conditions or restrictions on burning, such as when a wind storm develops.
The mapping feature prevents residents from signing up if they are not within a fire protection district or they live inside city limits, where outdoor debris burns are not allowed.
“Under this system, we could have 100 people burning and we can push a message just to them. Ask them to go check their fire. Make sure it’s completely out. We think that’s a real benefit we didn’t have under the older system.”
The app allows fire districts to send notifications of opening and closing of outdoor burning season, information about other ways to eliminate debris without burning and critical fire safety information.
As of today, there are 1,617 registered Burn Permit app users in the Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Protection District.
The practice of managing burn permits through a mobile app is spreading to other agencies like wildfire.